Corporate social responsibility
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a fast-growing area of research and practice in the PR field. Most of the findings to date support the supposition that CSR leads to positive financial gains via improved organizational reputation. However, while scholars encourage practitioners to employ CSR efforts strategically, relatively little is known about the industry- and firm-level factors that drive CSR performance or the cognitive processes that affect stakeholder perceptions of said performance. Employing secondary data analysis and experimental design, this dissertation investigates these larger concerns. Findings indicate that CSR performance is a formative measure and that industry and firm characteristics vary – sometimes dramatically – in their predictive efficacy of success among different CSR activities. The perception of CSR performance, however, is considerably more reflective in nature. Demonstrated success in one area of CSR leads not only to improved perceptions within that specific CSR domain, but spills over to improve CSR reputation more generally.