Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 233–252

The CSR-Quality Trade-Off: When can Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Ability Compensate Each Other?

  • Guido Berens
  • Cees B. M. van Riel
  • Johan van Rekom
Open Access


This paper investigates under what conditions a good corporate social responsibility (CSR) can compensate for a relatively poor corporate ability (CA) (quality), and vice versa. The authors conducted an experiment among business administration students, in which information about a financial services company’s CA and CSR was provided. Participants indicated their preferences for the company’s products, stocks, and jobs. The results show that for stock and job preferences, a poor CA can be compensated by a good CSR. For product preferences, a poor CA could not be compensated by a good CSR, at least when people thought that CA is personally relevant to them. Furthermore, a poor CSR could be compensated by a good CA for product, stocks, and job preferences.


applicant attitudes consumer attitudes corporate ability corporate social responsibility investor attitudes personal relevance trade-offs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Berens
    • 1
  • Cees B. M. van Riel
    • 2
  • Johan van Rekom
    • 3
  1. 1.RSM Erasmus UniversityRotterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.RSM Erasmus UniversityRotterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.RSM Erasmus UniversityRotterdamNetherlands

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