• stakeholder theory;
  • corporate social responsibility;
  • attention;
  • corporate social performance;
  • philanthropy;
  • stakeholder salience

Stakeholder theory suggests a relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance (CFP) because certain stakeholders reward certain types of CSR. This argument assumes that stakeholders attend to firms' CSR activities—an assumption that has yet to be examined. We fill this gap by extending stakeholder theory to the context of stakeholder attention to firm CSR and exploring the antecedents and consequences of stakeholder attention to corporate disaster relief CSR. We test the resulting hypotheses on a sample of public companies that engaged in natural disaster relief efforts, finding that stakeholder attention partially mediated the relationship between disaster relief and CFP and that stakeholder attention to corporate disaster relief was driven by the legitimacy, urgency, and enactment of disaster relief CSR initiatives. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.