Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 140, Issue 3, pp 537–549

Can Ivory Towers be Green? The Impact of Organization Size on Organizational Social Performance



Organizations differ tremendously in the extent to which they engage in socially responsible behavior and the extent to which this behavior is evaluated by stakeholders. This research examines the complex role of organization size as a driver of perceptions of an organization’s socially responsible behavior and its social performance. Using a unique data set of 302 organizations in the higher education industry, we find that the strength of the organization size–organizational social performance (OSP) relationship is contingent on whether the organization is autonomous from community stakeholders and resource pressures. Our results show that the organization size–OSP relationship is stronger when stakeholders in the organization’s community are more involved in the organization itself and decision-making processes, and that this relationship is weaker when greater financial and human resources are available to the organization.


Higher education industry Organizational autonomy Organization size Organizational social performance Stakeholder theory 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business AdministrationUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.David Nazarian College of Business and EconomicsCalifornia State University – NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

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