Berman, Shawn L., Andrew C. Wicks, Suresh Kotha, and Thomas M. Jones. "Does Stakeholder Orientation Matter? An Empirical Examination of the Relationship Between Stakeholder Management Models and Firm Financial Performance." Working Paper, 2004.

Investigates the impact of stakeholder relationships (using data from the KLD Socrates database) on the financial performance (return on assets, from the Compact Disclosure 1997 database) of 81 publicly traded members of the Fortune 100 for the 1991-1996 time period.
The social factors used as independent variables are Community, Diversity, Employees, Natural Environment, and Product Safety. Several financial variables (termed "strategy variables" are use. These include selling intensity (SG&A / Sales), capital expenditures (capex/sales), efficiency (cost of goods sold / sales), and capital intensity (assets / number of employees). In addition, three operating environment variables are employed - "dynamism" (an industry sales variability measure), "munificence" (industry sales growth), and "power" (a measure of market concentration).

The authors studied the impacts of these variables using a variety of regressions, some of which tested for interaction relationships. In the direct effects model, only two of the social factors, Employees (p<0.01) and Product Safety (p<0.05), had a statistically significant impact on return on assets. The other three social factors had insignificant direct effects on ROA, but were important in a "moderation" model (i.e., influenced other independent variables), suggesting that "the relationship between stakeholder relationships, strategy, and financial performance is more complex than suggested by the direct effects model."