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Understanding the influence of corporate social responsibility on corporate identity, image, and firm performance

Sebastian Arendt (Center for Entrepreneurship, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany)
Malte Brettel (Center for Entrepreneurship, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 16 November 2010

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine the effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate identity, image and firm performance in a multi‐industry setting, in order to support evidence that the effects of CSR differ in different industry settings.

Design/methodology/approach

The study, based on pre‐existing CSR scales, was tested using data collected from a sample of 389 European companies. Hypotheses are based on the examination of the moderating effects of CSR using a group comparison method.

Findings

Contingency models show that CSR triggers the corporate‐image‐building process and that its relationship to company success varies significantly based on company size, industry and marketing budget.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted within a specific region in the EU and as such these findings may or may not be generalized to other regions like Asia or the USA. In addition, the secondary data of the study did not include stakeholders other than customers and suppliers, suggesting that further analysis of the model should be made using data from additional stakeholders.

Practical implications

Previous research has shown mixed results from companies' efforts in the field of CSR. This paper triggers practitioners' discussion about the ability to pursue CSR, depending on their size, industry, and marketing budget, and helps them to set the right focus for their CSR efforts.

Originality/value

The study enriches the body of empirical research on CSR and provides support for research investigating under which conditions CSR is most effective. It is the first to analyze samples from different industries in this context.

Keywords

Citation

Arendt, S. and Brettel, M. (2010), "Understanding the influence of corporate social responsibility on corporate identity, image, and firm performance", Management Decision, Vol. 48 No. 10, pp. 1469-1492. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251741011090289

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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