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When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Structured around three essays, this dissertation investigates the use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance-based incentives through the lens of corporate governance.
Toward that end, it relies on both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The key data was hand collected from the proxy statements of S&P 500 firms for the fiscal year 2014 while the remaining data was obtained from various databases. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with key executives and directors and add context to the quantitative results reported in the first paper. Findings reported in the first essay suggest that short-term view institutional shareholders are associated with less use of CSR performance-based incentives while long-term view institutional shareholders, according to the qualitative data only, are working towards greater use. Furthermore, mimetic isomorphism appears to underlie greater use of CSR performance-based incentives. Within the second essay, results indicate that when the top management team has power, the use of these incentives leads its members to garner excess compensation beyond what they would normally be expected to receive. Finally, in the third essay, knowledge transfer vis-à-vis directors’ experience in environmentally sensitive industries as well as on CSR committees appears to induce firms to expand their use of CSR performance-based incentives.
This work contributes to the literatures in executive compensation, CSR, knowledge transfer and to the emerging literature on CSR-driven corporate governance. It will be of interest to boards of directors, regulators, shareholders and other stakeholders interested in understanding more about who is influencing the use of CSR performance-based incentives and how these come into use in a firm.