When Boards Matter: The Case of Corporate Social Irresponsibility

Tanusree Jain*, Rashid Zaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


While academic research has made remarkable progress in understanding corporate social responsibility (CSR), we have scant understanding of corporate social irresponsibility (CSiR). This paper adopts a stakeholder-agency perspective towards CSiR to ask two related questions: (1) What board-level structures can monitor management to reduce CSiR? and (2) What are the conditions that render board monitoring more effective? Employing a unique objective measure of CSiR and a sophisticated system generalized method of moments with dynamic panel model on a sample of publicly listed firms in the USA between 2002 and 2015, this paper demonstrates how firms with a specific board-level governance bundle (i.e. a large, more independent board, with a board CSR committee, a higher proportion of women within boards with frequent director activity) are better equipped to reduce irresponsible behaviours, both in terms of number of irresponsible incidents as well as in terms of their economic costs to the firm. Moreover, the effectiveness of this governance bundle sustains under conditions of high institutional ownership and high board remuneration. This paper has implications for CSR and corporate governance literatures, as well as for managers and policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)365-386
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

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