Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 677–697 | Cite as

Can doing good lead to doing poorly? Firm value implications of CSR in the face of CSI

  • Isabell Lenz
  • Hauke A. Wetzel
  • Maik HammerschmidtEmail author
Original Empirical Research


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities enhance firm value via strengthened stakeholder relationships. However, many firms are also involved in corporate social irresponsibility (CSI), which could lead stakeholders to judge CSR actions as insincere, subsequently damaging firm value. This study examines the pivotal role of CSI for CSR’s firm value effects. As an initial finding, the results indicate that CSR’s positive firm value effect is significantly attenuated by the presence of CSI. Offering a more fine-grained analysis, the authors elaborate on the effectiveness of CSR that relates to the same (SD-CSR) or other domains (OD-CSR) as CSI. All else equal, the results indicate that only OD-CSR enhances firm value. Depending upon the CSI context, however, SD-CSR destroys or benefits firm value and OD-CSR is more or less beneficial. By adding new aspects to the discussion about how to align doing good with doing well, the results speak to both theorists and practitioners.


Corporate social responsibility Corporate social irresponsibility Social responsibility dilemma Firm value Instrumental stakeholder theory 



This project was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). The authors thank Editor Robert W. Palmatier, the Associate Editor, three anonymous reviewers, Torsten Bornemann, Yasemin Boztuğ, Till Dannewald, Xueming Luo, Waldemar Toporowski, and numerous participants of the 2012 AMA Summer Educators Conference in Chicago, the 2013 AMA Winter Educators Conference in Las Vegas, and the 2013 Doctoral Colloquium at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Goettingen, for providing helpful comments and suggestions for improvement throughout the stages of this project.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabell Lenz
    • 1
  • Hauke A. Wetzel
    • 1
  • Maik Hammerschmidt
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Economic SciencesUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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