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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Christopher P. Agoglia

Second Advisor

M. David Piercy

Third Advisor

Elaine Wang

Fourth Advisor

Linda Isbell

Subject Categories

Accounting | Advertising and Promotion Management | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Finance and Financial Management

Abstract

Investors, analysts, and news outlets have expressed concerns that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has deviated from its original altruistic purpose of improving society to a marketing ploy aimed at managing perceptions of shareholders and improving the bottom line of companies. In this study, I analyze how the fit of a company’s business operations to their CSR activities affects the investment willingness of long and short-term investors. While prior research shows numerous positive outcomes associated with CSR, I predict and find that low fit CSR activities can decrease the investment willingness of long-term investors when companies are involved in controversial “sin” industries (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, gaming). Even though the CSR initiatives are viewed positively in isolation, this finding suggests that some CSR initiatives can decrease firm value. Conversely, I find that long-term investors value both low fit and high fit CSR for “virtue” firms that are involved in socially responsible industries; however, high fit CSR activities maximize the investment willingness of potential shareholders. Importantly, my study also shows that CSR fit only affects long-term investors. Short-term investors view all types of CSR negatively. These findings will inform regulators amid the ongoing debate to regulate CSR reporting and help managers to better design CSR initiatives to maximize the return on their investment as well as the positive effects on society.

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