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Recognizing when and how corporate social responsibility affects corporate performance is important to corporate social responsibility's legitimacy as a business practice. Although "empirical evidence linking corporate social responsibility and firm performance is somewhat mixed," it appears that there is "a positive relationship between CSR and firm financial performance in the majority of studied cases [but] it is not entirely clear what causes what." 1 In this section we included examples of emprirical studies as well as case studies published in books as well as journals on corporate social responsibility and corporate performance.
Aggregator databases available via subscription provide a great starting point for searching for empirical studies or cases. Additionally, publications on corporate social responsibility with regard to cases can be found in the Library's online catalog. Please see the section on LC Subject Headings.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Resources for Research

Table of Contents

   Acronyms and Related Concepts
Selected Book Titles
Journals and News Sources
Legislative and Government Sources
Associations and Organizations
Data Sources
Empirical Studies and Best Practices
LC Subject Headings

Image (left): "Business is Business"
Ehrhart, S. D. (creator)
Illustration in Puck (1904, June 1)
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-25854
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Emprirical Studies

Berens, Guido, Cees B.m. Van Riel, and Gerrit H. Van Bruggen. "Corporate Associations and Consumer Product Responses: The Moderating Role of Corporate Brand Dominance." Journal of Marketing 69, no. 3 (2005): 35-48. doi:10.1509/jmkg.

This study examines 273 retail and wholesale businesses regarding corporate associations and corporate social responsibility attributions.

Du, Shuili, C. B. Bhattacharya, and Sankar Sen. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitive Advantage: Overcoming the Trust Barrier." Management Science 57, no. 9 (2011): 1528-545. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1110.1403.

An empirical study of CSR, trust, and competitive advantage. This study concludes that a competitive brand vs. a brand leader is viewed more favorably for customers participating in CSR initiatives but does not have impact on customers who were simply aware of the initiative.

Gabriel, Jordi Vives, ed. Case Studies in Sustainability Management: The Oikos Collection. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing, 2014.
LC Call Number: HC79.E5 C38 2014
LC Record Number: 2014453399

This publication provides case studies based on real examples for systematic problem-solving.

Green, Ken, Peter Groenewegen, and Peter S. Hofman. Ahead of the Curve: Cases of Innovation in Environmental Management. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.
LC Call Number: GE300 .A34 2001
LC Record Number: 00069268

This book describes how some organizations incorporate environmentally friendly practices beyond current regulations to stay ahead of regulatory pressure. Cases described provide ideas for innovative environmental responses.

Luo, Xueming, and C.b Bhattacharya. "The Debate over Doing Good: Corporate Social Performance, Strategic Marketing Levers, and Firm-Idiosyncratic Risk." Journal of Marketing 73, no. 6 (2009): 198-213. doi:10.1509/jmkg.73.6.198.

This study examines data from 541 large companies spanning over 70 industries with regard to corporate social performance.

Margolis, Joshua Daniel., and James Patrick. Walsh. People and Profits?: The Search for a Link between a Companys Social and Financial Performance. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2001.
LC Call Number: HD60 .M365 2001
LC Record Number: 2001016168

This book presents an integrated overview of 95 studies. Includes charts and tables. Studies support a positive causal relationship, improved financial performance, and that corporate social responsibility can lead to competitive advantage.

Orlitzky, Marc, Frank L. Schmidt, and Sara L. Rynes. "Corporate Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-Analysis." Organization Studies 24, no. 3 (2003): 403-41. doi:10.1177/0170840603024003910.

A detailed analysis of 52 empirical studies revealed that corporate social responsibility increases a firm's financial performance and reputation score.

Rangan, Kasturi, Lisa Chase and Sohel Karim. "The truth about CSR." Harvard Business Review 93, no. 1/2 (2015): 40-49.

Article explores how companies devise and execute CSR through in-depth interviews with managers, directors, and CEOs who were directly or indirectly responsible for their firms' CSR strategies. More than a dozen case studies on CSR has developed from these studies.

Stachowicz-Stanusch, Agata and Wolfgang Amann. Business Integrity in Practice: Insights from International Case Studies. New York, NY: Business Expert Press, 2012.
LC Call Number: HF5387 .B8785 2012
LC Record Number: 2012406947

This publication discusses case studies and provides examples from organizations worldwide.

Torres, Cristina A. Cedillo, Mercedes Garcia-French, Rosemarie Hordijk, Kim Nguyen and Lana Olup. "Four Case Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility: Do Conflicts Affect a Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy?" Utrecht Law Review 8, no. 3 (2012): 51. doi:10.18352/ulr.205.

The article analyzes four multinational companies (Apple, Canon, Coca-Cola and Walmart), and their involvement in CSR conflicts.

Best Practices

Best practices are available in online as well as in print resources. In particular, ISO 26000 (Social responsibility) is an example of a standard which provides guidance to firms and managers who voluntarily choose to consider incorporating corporate social responsibility plans into its operations. Provided below are examples of resources that provide best practice regarding corporate social responsibility. Publications on best practices in print format typically overlap with the subdivision “case studies” under a Library of Congress Subject Heading search.

Global Reporting External Link

Global reporting is an independent international organization that creates standards (GRI Standards) for sustainability reporting.

ISO 26000, Social responsibility External Link

Provides guidance for firms who are interested in voluntarily adopting corporate social responsibility into their organizational plans.

Kao, Amy. Corporate citizenship reporting : best practices. New York, NY : Conference Board, c2005.
LC Call Number: HD60 .K3637 2005
LC Record Number: 2006271923

Publication provides best practices as well as case studies.

 1. Rothaermel, F.T. Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases. (2013), 342.

Last Updated: 06/01/2018

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  June 21, 2018
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