In this article we analyze the motives of executives to take responsibility for the labor, environmental and social aspects of their business. We distinguish three motives: one extrinsic (financial) and two intrinsic (ethical and altruistic) motives and empirically investigate the influences of these motives on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by means of a sample of 473 executives. The estimation results show that for social aspects of CSR, executives are significantly more driven by intrinsic motives than by the extrinsic motive. But also for environmental aspects of CSR intrinsic motives provide stronger stimulus than the extrinsic motive.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Agle B. R., VanBuren H. J. III (1999) God and mammon: The modern relationship. Business Ethics Quarterly 9: 563–582
Angelidis J., Ibrahim N. (2004) An exploratory study of the impact of degree of religiousness upon an individual’s corporate social responsiveness orientation. Journal of Business Ethics 51: 119–128
Araña J. E., León C. J. (2009) The role of environmental management in consumers preferences for corporate social responsibility. Environmental Resource Economics 44: 495–506
Armstrong J. C., Overton T. S. (1977) Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research 14: 396–402
Aupperle K. E., Carroll A. B., Hatfield J. D. (1985) An empirical investigation of the relationship between corporate social responsibility and profitability. Academy of Management Journal 28: 446–463
Bernard H. R. (2000) Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. SAGE, London
Bowles S. (1998) Endogenous preferences: The cultural consequences of markets and other economic institutions. Journal of Economic Literature XXXVI: 75–111
Brønn P. S., Vidaver-Cohen D. (2009) Corporate motives for social iniative: Legitamcy, sustainability or the bottom line?. Journal of Business Ethics 87: 91–109
Brown T. J., Dacin P. A. (1997) The company and the product: Corporate associations and consumer product responses. Journal of Marketing 61: 68–84
Campbell J. L. (2007) Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review 32: 946–967
Cañón-de-Francia J., Garcés-Ayerbe C. (2009) ISO 14001 environmental certification: A sign valued by the market?. Environmental Resource Economics 44: 245–262
Carroll A. B. (1999) Corporate social responsibility: Evolution of a definitional construct. Business & Society 38: 268–295
Elkington J. (1997) Cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Capstone, Oxford
Etzioni A. (1988) The moral dimension: Towards a new economics. The Free Press, New York
European Commission. (2001). A sustainable Europe for a better world: A European Union strategy for sustainable development. Brussels: COM 264 final.
European Commission. (2002). European SMES and social and environmental responsibility. Observatory of European SMEs no. 4.
Filbeck G., Gorman R. F. (2004) The relationship between the environmental and financial performance of public utilities. Environmental and Resource Economics 29: 137–157
Fombrun C., Shanley M. (1990) What’s in a name? Reputation building and corporate strategy. Academy of Management Journal 33: 233–258
Frey B. S., Oberholzer-Gee F. (1997) The costs of price incentives: An empirical analysis of motivation crowding out. American Economic Review 87: 746–755
Frey B. (1998) Not just for the money: An economic theory of personal motivation. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham
Frey B. S., Jegen R. (2001) Motivation crowding theory. Journal of Economic Surveys 15: 589–611
Friedman, M. (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The New York Times Magazine 13, September.
Fuijii E. T., Hennesy M., Mak J. (1985) An evaluation of the validity, reliability of survey response data on household electricity conservation. Evaluation Review 9: 93–104
Galaskiewicz J., Colman M. S. (2006) Collaboration between corporations and nonprofit organizations. In: Powell W. W., Steinberg R. (eds) The non-profit sector: A research handbook. Yale University Press, New Haven
Gardberg N., Fombrun C. F. (2006) Corporate citizenship: Creating intangible assets across institutional environments. Academy of Management Review 31: 329–346
Gatersleben B., Steg L., Vlek C. (2002) Measurement and determinants of environmentally significant consumer behavior. Environment and Behavior 34: 335–362
Gneezy U., Rustichini A. (2000) Pay enough, or don’t pay at all. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115: 791–810
Graafland J. J., Eijffinger S. C. W. (2004) Corporate social responsibility of Dutch companies: Benchmarking, transparency and robustness. De Economist 152: 403–426
Graafland J., van deVen B. (2006) Strategic and moral motivation for corporate social responsibility. Journal of Corporate Citizenship 22: 111–123
Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analyses. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Hambrick D. C., Mason P. A. (1984) Upper echelons: The organization as a reflection of its top managers. Academy of Management Review 9: 193–206
Hemingway C. A., Maclagan P. W. (2004) Managers’ personal values as drivers of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 50: 33–44
Jones T. M., Wicks A. C. (1999) Convergent stakeholder theory. Academy of Management Review 24: 206–221
Kaiser F., Wölfing S., Fuhrer U. (1999) Environmental attitude and ecological behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology 19: 1–19
Kennedy E. J., Lawton L. (1998) Religiousness and business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 17: 163–175
Lepoutre J., Heene H. (2006) Investigating the impact of firms size on small business social responsibility: A critical review. Journal of Business Ethics 67: 257–273
Lindgreen A., Swaen V., Johnston W. J. (2009) Corporate social responsibility: An empirical investigation of US organizations. Journal of Business Ethics 85: 303–323
Loe T. W., Ferrell L., Mansfield P. (2000) A review of empirical studies assessing ethical decision making in business. Journal of Business Ethics 24: 185–204
Lougee B. A., Wallace J. S. (2008) The corporate social responsibility (CSR) trend. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance 20: 96–108
Matten D., Moon J. (2008) “Implicit” and “explicit”CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. The Academy of Management Review 33: 404–424
McWilliams A., Siegel D. (2001) Corporate social responsibility and financial performance: Correlation or misspecification?. Strategic Management Journal 21: 603–609
Miles M. P., Covin J. G. (2000) Environmental marketing: A source of reputational, competitive, and financial advantage. Journal of Business Ethics 23: 299–311
MSCI. (2011). MSCI ESG STATS user guide & ESG ratings definition, MSCI ESG Research, June 2011.
Murillo D., Lozano J. (2006) SMEs and CSR: An approach to CSR in their own words. Journal of Business Ethics 67: 227–240
Orlitzky M., Schmidt F. L., Rynes S. L. (2003) Corporate social and financial performance: A meta-analysis. Organization Studies 24: 403–441
Parkhe A. (1993) Strategic alliance structuring: A game theoretic and transaction cost examination of interfirm cooperation. Academy of Management Journal 36: 794–829
Podsakoff P. M., Mackenzie S. B., Lee J. Y., Podsakoff N. P. (2003) Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology 88: 879–903
Posnikoff J. F. (1997) Disinvestment from South Africa: They did well by doing good. Contemporary Economic Policy 15: 76–86
Rabin M. (1998) Psychology and economics. Journal of Economic Literature 36: 11–46
Ribar D. C., Wilhelm M. O. (2002) Altruistic and joy-of-giving motivations in charitable behavior. Journal of Political Economy 110: 425–457
Sims R. L., Keon T. L. (1997) Ethical work climate as a factor in the development of person-organization fit. Journal of Business Ethics 16: 1095–1105
Social Economic Council. (2001). Corporate social responsibility. Van Gorcum, Assen.
Telle K. (2006) “It pays to be green”—A premature conclusion?. Environmental and Resource Economics 35: 195–220
Treviño L. K., Weaver G. R. (2003) Managing ethics in business organizations: Social scientific perspectives. Stanford University Press, Stanford
Tudway R., Pascal A. M. (2006) Corporate governance, shareholder value and societal expectations. Corporate Governance 6: 305–316
Turban D. B., Greening D. W. (1996) Corporate social performance and organizational attractiveness to prospective employees. Academy of Management Journal 40: 658–672
Valentine S., Fleischman G. (2008) Ethics programs, perceived corporate social responsibility and job satisfaction. Journal of Business Ethics 77: 159–172
Van den Belt, Th., & Moret, J. P. (2010). Management en levensbeschouwing in Nederland: een onderzoek naar opvattingen van managers in Nederland over de stijl van leidinggeven en HRM-beleid in relatie tot hun levensbeschouwing Beltom Advies, Barneveld.
Van Beurden P., Gössling T. (2008) The worth of values—A literature review on the relation between corporate social and financial performance. Journal of Business Ethics 82: 407–424
Waddock S. A., Graves S. B. (1997) The corporate social performance-financial performance link. Strategic Management Journal 18: 303–319
Warriner G. K., McDougall G. H., Claxton J. D. (1984) Any data or none at all? Living with inaccuracies in self-reports of residential energy consumption. Environment and Behavior 6: 503–526
Werbel J. D., Carter S. M. (2002) The CEO’s influence on corporate foundation giving. Journal of Business Ethics 40: 47–60
White M. D. (2004) Can homo economicus follow Kant’s categorical imperative?. The Journal of Socio-Economics 33: 89–106
The authors thank the editor and two anonymous referees for their useful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
About this article
Cite this article
Graafland, J., Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, C. Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility. De Economist 160, 377–396 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10645-012-9198-5
- Corporate social responsibility
- Extrinsic motive
- Intrinsic motive