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CSR Research by Topic

CSR Research

Browse Environmental, Social & Governance Research 

Here at the BCCCC, our ongoing work with member companies helps us understand the issues today's corporate citizenship professionals are facing. With this audience in mind, we curate and summarize the latest CSR research studies each month. Use the briefs below to better integrate corporate citizenship into your business strategy and/or develop new solutions for pressing social challenges. For your convenience, the briefs are sorted into several prominent categories, all under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility. 


Corporate Citizenship

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csr and firm performance

CSR and firm performance: The essential role of risk and strategy alignment

RESEARCH BRIEF - CSR activities that align with the strategic vision and risk preferences of the firm can deliver better performance.

storytelling and consumer trust

Storytelling improves consumer trust and engagement in corporate citizenship

RESEARCH BRIEF - Consumers are more engaged in and believing of corporate citizenship communications that have a narrative style and focus on individuals—and are therefore less skeptical toward the initiatives they convey.

positive language and perceptions of CSR

How positive language can improve perceptions of corporate citizenship

RESEARCH BRIEF - Consumers judge corporate citizenship actions more favorably when they are framed in positive and comparative terms employing euphemisms that offer clues about the operating context.

global csr initiatives

With global CSR initiatives, company and regional culture are factors

Longer-term cultures and greater economic freedom correlate to more progressive CSR programs.

Engaging Employees

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diversity and employee engagement

Diversity alone won’t cut it—inclusion is more likely to improve organizational outcomes

RESEARCH BRIEF - Positive organizational outcomes require both diversity in numbers and inclusion in practice.

CSR and employee satisfaction

Corporate citizenship leads to happier and more committed employees

RESEARCH BRIEF - Employees with favorable perceptions of their organization's corporate citizenship tend to experience higher levels of self-efficacy, hope, and optimism about work.

honesty in employee communications

Need to change employee behavior? Be honest about your motives

When encouraged to change behavior, employees may be more motivated by straightforward, business-driven reasoning than stated prosocial motives such as saving the environment—which they may not view as genuine.

meaningful work

Meaningful work increases employee engagement

Want employees to be more engaged? Tell them why what they do is important.

Community Involvement

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price promotion to improve cause marketing success

Try price promotions to improve cause marketing success

RESEARCH BRIEF - When used in a cause marketing setting, price promotions, such as discounts and offers for more of the same product for free increase donations.

volunteering for better health and society

Volunteering is a win-win for health and society

RESEARCH BRIEF - People who volunteer regularly have better health and well-being outcomes compared to those who do not volunteer.

Ownership is Key

Ownership is key to engaging customers and employees in environmental and community stewardship

When customers or employees feel a personal connection to a cause or organization, they are more likely to engage in pro-social behaviors such as volunteering and donation efforts.


How does a company’s community orientation affect ESG behavior?

RESEARCH BRIEF - Evidence from the banking industry suggests that smaller firms that are locally owned and managed react differently to fluctuations in financial performance than large firms with a more extensive geographic reach.

Sustainablity Reporting

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environmental regulations reduce emissions at proactive companies

Do environmental regulations reduce emissions? Yes, when a company is proactive

RESEARCH BRIEF - Having existing emissions commitments, in addition to company and country-level factors, plays a role in whether government environmental policies reduce emissions at a company.

Voluntary Sustainability Reporting Water

Voluntary sustainability reporting: Key factors that influence water disclosure

Companies’ likelihood of disclosing information about their water management voluntarily is impacted mostly by internal factors, including self-regulation and internal governance measures, and external factors, including operating in a water-intensive industry.


For undervalued firms, releasing CSR news can lead to increased stock performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Firms that are undervalued in the stock market tend to issue additional nonfinancial information beyond their CSR reports. Evidence states that this may lead to positive stock performance.


Stakeholder engagement’s influence on environmental disclosure

RESEARCH BRIEF - Firms with formally communicated stakeholder engagement policies are more likely to disclose environmental information, however, this relationship does not hold for companies with especially strong financial performance.

Responsible Corporate Leadership

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women on boards innovation

Women on boards and innovation: Tokenism is not enough

RESEARCH BRIEF - Gender diversity on boards yields innovation results when the number of women is representative rather than symbolic.

institutional pressures hold women managers back

Institutional pressures hold women back on top management teams

RESEARCH BRIEF - While companies with women CEOs have lower representation of women in top management teams, this effect is lessened when women CEOs hold more power, boards are open to change, and industry growth is stronger.

geographically diverse boards and strong CSR performance

Geographically diverse boards linked to stronger corporate citizenship performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Firms with higher board geographical diversity have higher corporate citizenship performance.

board quotas linked to power boost for women directors

Board quotas linked to boost in power for women directors

RESEARCH BRIEF - Voluntary approaches to promote gender diversity on boards (i.e., corporate governance codes), increase women directors’ access to information within a network of other directors. Binding legislation (i.e., gender quotas), increase the likelihood that individual women will act as unique bridges between peers, which heightens their control over information and power within those networks.

Environmental Sustainability

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recycling reminders on packaging

Use reminders to encourage pro-environmental behaviors

RESEARCH BRIEF - Recycle, recycle, recycle: how and why it helps to keep reminding consumers.

partnerships drive innovation

Want environmental innovation? Partnerships increase your chances of success

RESEARCH BRIEF - Encourage collaboration with multiple stakeholder types to increase eco-innovation in your company.

launching sustainable products

Authenticity counts when launching sustainable products

RESEARCH BRIEF - Companies with an established reputation in corporate citizenship are more likely to achieve success with launching environmentally friendly or fair-trade products.

CSR and financial performance

CSR enhances financial performance, especially in environmentally intensive industries

RESEARCH BRIEF - Corporate citizenship performance leads to improved financial performance, especially for firms in environmentally intensive industries that may be subject to elevated stakeholder scrutiny and requirements for transparency.

Impact Measurement

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The relationship between corporate citizenship and financial performance over time: If you’re not first, you’re last

RESEARCH BRIEF - Companies are more likely to achieve both greater firm profitability and increased stock market valuation if they are CSR leaders.


Want to appear on an Index? Choose one that already aligns with current strategy and metrics for best results

Corporate citizenship practitioners should make the most out of limited resources by applying to indices that emphasize activities that are already integral to company strategy and measure efforts for which you have metrics.


Can you expect a return on firm political contributions? Maybe only if your company operates in highly regulated industries

Only firms in highly regulated industries appear to derive value from political spending. In regulated industries, such as banking, political spending is associated with stronger market performance.


Why, When, and How Should the Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility be Measured?

A model for designing measurement of effectiveness of CSR activities across multiple stakeholder groups.

The Value of Corporate Citizenship

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corporate citizenship and firm performance

When does corporate citizenship lead to firm performance? Consider your context.

RESEARCH BRIEF - The links between corporate citizenship performance, financial performance, and firm risk.

countries that value CSR

Environmentalism boosts firm performance in markets where consumers value and expect it

RESEARCH BRIEF - There is a positive relationship between environmental and firm performance in countries with this in common...

wage inequality affects firm performance

Wage inequality is bad for business in the long run

RESEARCH BRIEF - Companies that care about long-term profitability and customer satisfaction should reduce wage inequality.

companies with strong financial and social performance

What do firms with strong social AND financial performance have in common?

RESEARCH BRIEF - Companies that perform better than average financially AND in terms of corporate citizenship tend to be larger and have large boards, a higher percentage of women on boards, and lower leverage.

Supply Chain Management

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supply chain structure

In large supply chains, structure impacts ESG transparency

RESEARCH BRIEF - Why the structural features of extended supply chains matter

supply chain sustainability

Customers care about supply chain disclosures

RESEARCH BRIEF - Supply chain traceability and monitoring matter to consumers


Consumer and regulatory pressures can improve corporate environmental practices—if the culture is right

RESEARCH BRIEF - The extent to which pressure from consumers and regulators impact environmental product and process innovations depends on the culture of the company.


Supply chain disclosure cuts costs and boosts profitability

RESEARCH BRIEF - Companies that actively communicate and disclose information about their supply chain are more likely to cut costs and increase profitability.

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