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Keywords:

  • corporate social responsibility;
  • financial performance;
  • intangible resources;
  • stakeholder theory

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of a firm's intangible resources in mediating the relationship between corporate responsibility and financial performance. We hypothesize that previous empirical findings of a positive relationship between social and financial performance may be spurious because the researchers failed to account for the mediating effects of intangible resources. Our results indicate that there is no direct relationship between corporate responsibility and financial performance—merely an indirect relationship that relies on the mediating effect of a firm's intangible resources. We demonstrate our theoretical contention with the use of a database comprising 599 companies from 28 countries. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.