This study examines the effect on investors' judgments of corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures when integrated with financial information in a single report versus when presented in a separate CSR report. Advocates for integrated reports argue that CSR information will be perceived as more relevant and have a greater impact on users when observed in an integrated report. However, we provide experimental evidence that CSR measures have greater influence on investors' judgments when investors observe the CSR information and financial information depicted in separate reports. We also provide evidence that this greater influence of CSR measures is caused by investors' evaluations taking on a “multidimensional perspective” that includes both a social responsibility and a financial dimension, which is triggered by observing the separate CSR report. Activating a social responsibility dimension elevates the perceived relevance of CSR measures, increasing their influence on investors' judgments. Our study contributes to practice by highlighting a potential unintended consequence of issuing integrated versus separate CSR reports: that investors incorporate CSR information less when it is integrated with financial information versus separately reported.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics