Department of Management Studies

SUB scholars win Business & Society’s 2020 Best Paper Award

Awarded paper studied whether and when corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities have impacts on sustainability performance.
Business & Society best paper award

SUB scholars Minna Halme, Leena Lankoski and Mika Kuisma have won Business & Society’s 2020 Best Paper Award along with Jukka Rintamäki and Jette Steen Knudsen for their paper “When Is There a Sustainability Case for CSR? Pathways to Environmental and Social Performance Improvements”.

The article examines whether and when corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities have impacts on sustainability performance using an extensive dataset of 19 large companies. Their study found pathways to improved environmental performance and social performance as well as to nonimprovement. The findings suggested that there were several pathways to failure but only a few to success.

These failures can occur at various points in the process of implementing CSR. First, when firms face outside CSR pressure, they may not update their policies to reflect those pressures. If they do align the policies to reflect the pressures, things could still go awry if the organization’s structures and practices aren’t updated accordingly. Firms that make it through these two hurdles could nonetheless still fail if they use ineffective implementation measures. Clearer pressures on companies, increased accountability, trainings, and new tools can all help overcome these pathways to failure. Success in sustainability performance improvements on the other hand occurs when firms integrate CSR into their core business.

The paper, along with the other finalists, will be free to download on the journal's website until October 2021. A summary is also available on the Business & Society blog. For anyone interested in the sustainability impacts of companies, this article can offer insights into how to improve the likelihood of CSR success. 

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