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Commitment in corporate social responsibility and financial performance: a study in the Tunisian context

Haifa Chtourou (Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Mohamed Triki (Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The purpose of this study is to measure the impact of commitment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in its various forms (CSR philanthropy/ altruism, CSR integration and CSR innovation) on the financial performance as measured by certain ratios.


Thus, on the basis of a theoretically constructed questionnaire administered to 82 responsibles (general managers, human resources managers and CSR responsibles) operating in four business areas, the authors have developed the extent of the overall CSR commitment and the extent of commitment by CSR action type.


The examination of the impact of the CSR commitment on the financial performance has partially approved the social impact assumption. Indeed, only the positive effect of CSR philanthropy is demonstrated. Otherwise, for integrated and innovative actions, the low involvement in these actions in relation to philanthropic ones could explain the lack of significant association. But this result is also important, as it marks the lack of any negative effects. Even if they do not result in a better financial performance, these commitments do not bring harm to the firm. As for the strategic approach predominance on the altruistic approach, this hypothesis is checked only in the case of firms operating in the chemical sector.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the study is the limited size of the total sample and the sample by industry, so the authors expect a larger sample might be able to provide more meaningful results.

Practical implications

Then, the study suggests the importance of implementing real CSR strategies for firms that often find doubt and ambiguity when they decide to undertake social actions. However, these results do not mean that companies must refrain from driving altruistic or philanthropic activities but are encouraged to seek a social performance that suits a certain level of integration and innovation.

Social implications

The most important of all the above is that the negative impact of social actions is not verified in any way, allowing to state that the social actions do not exert a negative effect on the financial performance. So, participation in social problems do not bring harm to the firm.


The originality of this work comes from: the measure of CSR commitment, and the use of a classification typology of CSR actions in terms of their interaction with the core of the firm’s business as developed by Halme (2009). In fact, based on a theoretically constructed questionnaire, the authors have developed two measures of responsible commitment (level of commitment and intensity of commitment) of some industrial Tunisian firms.



Chtourou, H. and Triki, M. (2017), "Commitment in corporate social responsibility and financial performance: a study in the Tunisian context", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 370-389.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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