Understanding cross-national variation in corporate social performance: a comparative institutional analysis

Thumbnail Image
Buchanan, Sean
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This study adopts a comparative institutional approach to address the question of why corporate social performance (CSP) tends to vary cross-nationally. Using a sample of 1551 firms from 20 different countries, I test the relationships between key institutional variables suggested in the varieties of capitalism literature (see Hall & Soskice, 2001) and corporate social performance. Specifically, I test the relationships between coordination in corporate governance and labour relations and CSP. To provide a comprehensive measure of CSP, I separately measure different dimensions of CSP (social and environmental) and categories of CSP(processes and outcomes). The results indicated that the market economy firms are embedded within produces differences in how they perform on social and environmental dimensions. In particular, national level coordination in corporate governance was found to produce differences in both the processes firms adopt to address social and environmental issues and the outcomes and impacts of firm actions on social and environmental dimensions. These institutional factors were found to be stronger predictors of CSP than both cultural differences and differences in industry composition. The results of this study lend support to the argument that CSP is driven by institutions at the national-level. I discuss the implications of these findings and chart out a course for futureresearch in the area.
Corporate Social Performance, Institutions, Varieties of Capitalism