“How does Sustainability Leadership Affect Firm Performance? The Choices Associated with Appointing a Chief Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility”

Frank Wiengarten, Kwan Yu Lo, Jessie Y.K. Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have seen a significant increase in stakeholder pressure on firms to be not only economically sustainable but also from an environmental and social perspective. Besides operational changes in practices and products companies have reacted toward this increased pressure from a strategic perspective through structural changes of their top management team (TMT). A recent addition to the TMT has been the appointment of the chief officer of corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this paper, we take a behavioral perspective and investigate how the employment of a chief officer of CSR to the TMT impact on firm performance. Specifically, we explore how certain characteristics of the newly appointed chief executive of CSR impact on a firm’s financial performance. We collected secondary, longitudinal data of listed companies in the United States. Results indicate that appointing a chief executive of CSR does under certain conditions and characteristics result in financial performance benefits. Furthermore, the greatest financial performance benefits can be achieved if the appointee is female and has a CSR functional background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-493
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Financial performance
  • Top management team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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