Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 85–98 | Cite as

A Comparison of Canadian and U.S. CSR Strategic Alliances, CSR Reporting, and CSR Performance: Insights into Implicit–Explicit CSR

  • Linda Thorne
  • Lois S. MahoneyEmail author
  • Kristen Gregory
  • Susan Convery


We considered the question of how corporate social responsibility (CSR) differs between Canada and the U.S. Prior research has identified that national institutional differences exist between the two countries [Freeman and Hasnaoui, J Business Ethics 100(3):419–443, 2011], which may be associated with variations in their respective CSR practices. Matten and Moon [Acad Manag Rev 33(2):404–424, 2008] suggested that cross-national differences in firms’ CSR are depicted by an implicit–explicit conceptual framework: explicit CSR practices are deliberate and more strategic than implicit CSR practices. We compared Canada and U.S. CSR and examined how CSR strategic alliances, CSR reporting, and CSR performance in the two countries correspond to implicit versus explicit CSR practices, which we link to stakeholder and signaling perspectives. We relied upon a new database, the Sustainalytics Global Platform (SGP), and we found a positive association exists between CSR strategic alliances and the number of years that firms have issued standalone CSR reports in both countries. Moreover, we found that CSR scores mediated this association in the U.S., as U.S. firms with high CSR scores typically engage in more CSR strategic alliances. In Canada, we did not find this mediating effect. Our findings suggest that U.S. firms engage in signaling activities that are more strategic and explicit than their Canadian counterparts. This paper closes with implications for practice and theory.


Corporate social responsibility Implicit–explicit Strategic alliances Signaling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Thorne
    • 1
  • Lois S. Mahoney
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kristen Gregory
    • 3
  • Susan Convery
    • 4
  1. 1.Schulich School of BusinessYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Accounting and FinanceEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA
  3. 3.Eastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA
  4. 4.Broad College of BusinessMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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