Waldman, Siegel, and Javidian (2004)

Waldman, David A., Donald Siegel, and Mansour Javidian. "Transformational Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility." Working Paper, January 2004.

This exploratory study examines the role of CEOs in promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) at their firms. Uses survey, social responsibility measures, and financial data on 56 U.S. and Canadian firms randomly chosen from a potential pool of 929 U.S. and 188 Canadian firms, for the 1990-1992 time period. Social ratings were supplied by KLD, and financial data was obtained using the Disclosure database. Survey data came from a mail survey of 234 senior corporate managers in which they were asked their views regarding the CEOs of their organizations.

"The results...imply that there are positive associations between strategic CSR and firm size, R&D intensity, and prior profit levels, findings that are consistent with evidence presented in Waddock and Graves (1997a) and McWilliams and Siegel (2000). Social CSR is also significantly related to R&D intensity."

Also finds that CSR within sectors (uses SIC codes) is influenced by the degree to which CEOs are viewed as "Intellectually Stimulating". This factor is derived from survey responses in which executives responded affirmatively to questions such as "[the CEO] enables me to view problems from a different perspective" or "suggests ways to get at the heart of complex problems." An alternative superfactor, CEO "Charisma" ("I have complete faith in him/her") was not statistically significant.

Link (June 2004 revision):  http://www.economics.rpi.edu/workingpapers/rpi0415.pdf