Doing good, feeling good? corporate social responsibility and CEOs’ self-perceived status

Jiatao Li, Kaixian Mao, Peng Lu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


This study examines how chief executive officers (CEOs) personally benefit from their firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and the contingencies in this relationship. We apply stakeholder theory and social identity theory to examine the idea that CSR contributes to CEOs’ self-perceived status. When firms obtain higher legitimacy, admiration, and respect from CSR, CEOs—as firms’ agents and representatives—are likely to associate the firms’ social worth with their own social values. Although responsible investments enhance executives’ self-satisfaction with status, we further argue that this relationship is stronger among CEOs with greater discretion. Thus, the main effect should become weaker when an executive lacks discretion, reflected by state ownership and stronger internal monitoring. We assess the aforementioned ideas by analyzing two waves of a nationwide time-lagged survey of a large sample of Chinese private firms; the empirical findings support these arguments and make important contributions to the literature on CSR, business ethics, and upper echelon theory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Business ethics
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Managerial discretion
  • Private firms in China
  • Self-perceived status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Doing good, feeling good? corporate social responsibility and CEOs’ self-perceived status'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this