Corporate social responsibility and innovation: a resource‐based theory

Isabel Gallego‐Álvarez (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
José Manuel Prado‐Lorenzo (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
Isabel‐María García‐Sánchez (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 15 November 2011



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the bidirectional relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and innovation according to the resource‐based theory.


Based on a sample formed by companies with investments in R&D for the 2003‐2007 period worldwide, a bidirectional model is defined, one model in which the innovation realized by companies is a function of CSR practices, activity sector, firm size and risk, and another model in which CSR practices are a function of innovation, activity sector, firm size and risk.


The results of both models show that the bidirectional relationship between the two strategic decisions is negative. However, the effect of the sustainable practices undertaken by those companies listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index on innovative efforts is statistically less significant. It was also found that this type of investment takes three years to show its value added in CSR practices and that the relationship between innovation and corporate social responsibility practices is not the same in different sectors.

Practical implications

The empirical evidence suggests that, in general, companies do not implement innovations linked to topics of sustainability; at the same time, an incompatibility exists between investment in R&D and the encouragement of corporate sustainable behavior.


Previous studies have focused more on analyzing the influence of CSR practices on innovation and in this paper the influence of innovation on CSR practices is also analyzed.



Gallego‐Álvarez, I., Manuel Prado‐Lorenzo, J. and García‐Sánchez, I. (2011), "Corporate social responsibility and innovation: a resource‐based theory", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 10, pp. 1709-1727.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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