Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 112, Issue 4, pp 721–734 | Cite as

The Chief Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Study of Its Presence in Top Management Teams

  • Robert Strand


I present a review of the top management teams (TMTs) of the largest public corporations in the U.S. and Scandinavia (one thousand in total) to identify corporations that have a TMT position with “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) or a “CSR synonym” like sustainability or citizenship explicitly included in the position title. Through this I present three key findings. First, I establish that a number of CSR TMT positions exist and I list all identified corporations and associated position titles. Second, I show that Scandinavian corporations are significantly more likely than U.S. corporations to have such CSR TMT positions. This finding serves as evidence that the U.S. may have been surpassed by a subset of Europe, i.e., Scandinavia, in at least one relevant measure of explicit CSR, whereby this study may serve witness to a noteworthy juncture post Matten and Moon’s (Academy of Management Review, 33(2):404–424, 2008) “Implicit & Explicit CSR” article. And third, I show that corporations with a CSR TMT position are three times more likely to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) than corporations with none. A range of further research opportunities stemming from these findings include exploring whether explicit attention to CSR by the corporation is indicative of a longer term trend that has to do with attention to responsible business and whether a move away from the expression ‘CSR’ toward the expression ‘sustainability’ is underway and what this may entail.


Chief Officer of CSR Chief Sustainability Officer C-Suite Top management team Scandinavia U.S. Explicit CSR 



I would like to thank Rikke Augustinus Eriksen, Peter de Fine Licht, Mette Morsing, Eric Guthey, Andrew Crane, Brad Jackson, Jeremy Moon, Dirk Matten, Tarek Haddad, and Itziar Castello. Funding was provided in part by PwC Denmark and the Archibald Bush Foundation Fellowship Program. Thank you.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Copenhagen Business School, Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR)FrederiksbergDenmark

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