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Impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) awareness, affordability and management system sophistication on CSR performance

Anura De Zoysa (School of Business, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Nobyuki Takaoka (Faculty of Economics, Wakayama University, Wakayama, Japan)
Yuqian Zhang (Department of Finance, Accounting and Economics (FAE), University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 4 May 2021

Issue publication date: 5 July 2021




This paper aims to examine the impact of three key factors — corporate social responsibility (CSR) awareness, CSR affordability and CSR management system (CSRMS) sophistication—on the CSR performance of Japanese firms.


Using responses to 36 items developed on the Global CSR standard of ISO26000, two CSR indexes were constructed to assess the CSR management system sophistication and performance of Japanese firms. The relationship between the three key variables (CSR awareness, affordability and management system sophistication) and CSR performance was then examined through a partial least squares (PLS)-based structural equation model. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey of 146 firms.


The results of the study found a positive relationship between CSR performance and three exogenous variables (CSR awareness, affordability and management system sophistication). Furthermore, the study found that CSRMS sophistication played a mediating role in the relationship between CSR performance and firms' CSR awareness and affordability.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to examining the CSR practices of a major province in Japan, which may hinder the generalisation of the findings to the rest of the country. Moreover, the data used for assessing the variables in this study were self-reported by the participating firms, in addition to being cross-sectional. The findings of this study clarified areas that policymakers, including Japan's business associations–Keidanren and Keizai Doyukai, and other relevant parties need to focus on for further improving CSR performances of Japanese firms.


This study highlights the role CSR awareness, affordability and CSRMS sophistication play in improving CSR performance. On the one hand, it identifies the critical role CSRMS plays in mediating the relationship among CSR performance, awareness and affordability. On the other hand, it advances CSR theory providing insight for practitioners to generate positive CSR outcomes.



This work is part of the research results supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16K03808 and WAKAYAMA PREFECTURE EMPLOYERS’ ASSOCIATION


De Zoysa, A., Takaoka, N. and Zhang, Y. (2021), "Impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) awareness, affordability and management system sophistication on CSR performance", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 7, pp. 1704-1722.



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