Jeewanthi, H.A.C., Jeewantha, G.K.C., and Indrani, M.W.
Department of Accountancy, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.,,


DOI : 10.57075/jaf1022305

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a critical indicator for bridging corporately responsible behavior and stakeholder inclusion towards achieving long-term development. While stakeholder and reputation-building theories suggest that CSR can affect organizational performance, slack resource theory proposes organizational performance can affect CSR. Accordingly, it indicates that CSR initiatives and firm performance have a bidirectional relationship. Despite many unidirectional studies conducted to examine CSR and firm performance interplay in diverse contexts, studies on bidirectional analyses to test contrasting theoretical standpoints in a single study are rare. However, examining the bi-directional role of CSR is crucial as it provides insights into using CSR as a strategic investment decision within the competitive organizational context. Therefore, this study aims to examine the relationship between CSR and market-based performance as a bidirectional study from an emerging country perspective. Study data was collected from the sustainability/CSR disclosures in annual reports published between 2011 and 2020 by the top hundred companies (identified based on market capitalization) listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in Sri Lanka using judgmental sampling. The CSR was measured using a weighted CSR score assessed based on a comprehensive CSR index with thirty sub-dimensions. Market-based performance was measured using earnings per share (EPS) and firm value, and the control variables were firm size and leverage. The data was analyzed in two phases to examine the two-way linkage between CSR and market-based performance using the fixed effect panel regression technique. The findings concluded that CSR positively impacts market-based performance, confirming the role of CSR as a strategic driver to enhance future profitability. However, the study could not find any bidirectional impact of market-based performance on CSR in an emerging context. Although higher CSR affects higher external performance, higher market-based performance does not affect increased CSR in Sri Lanka. It may be because external performance indicators represent only the future profitability of firms, and these indicators are generally highly volatile over a long period, especially in emerging countries like Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Bi-directional, Corporate social responsibility, Market-based performance, Slack resource theory, Stakeholder theory

About the author

Nothing is Imposible