Are R&D-Intensive firms also corporate social responsibility specialists? A multicountry study

Limin Fu, Dirk Boehe, Marc Orlitzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Seeking to obtain efficiency in the development and integration of knowledge about R&D and corporate social responsibility (CSR), firms face hard choices about their resource allocation to these two areas because of the specialized nature of knowledge and related barriers to integration. We address this organizational resource allocation dilemma by relaxing the common assumption that firms are either responsible or irresponsible and examining financial slack as a possible moderator. Using a multicountry sample of 1,957 firms over a 16-year timespan, we find strong empirical support for the positive association between firms' R&D intensity and CSR specialization, a novel concept that—distinct from CSR as such—gauges the extent to which firms specialize in specific environmental, social, or governance aspects of CSR. However, there is insufficient support for financial slack as a moderator in general (except for one noteworthy industry pattern and an alternative operationalization of slack). The exceptions suggest that the nature of organizational slack may influence the relationship between R&D and CSR specialization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104082
Number of pages17
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Integration
  • Organizational knowledge
  • R&D intensity
  • Slack

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