The multilevel empirical study of the antecedents of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been identified as “the first knowledge gap” in CSR research. Based on an extensive literature review, the present study outlines a conceptual multilevel model of CSR, then designs and empirically validates an operational multilevel model of the principal driving factors affecting corporate environmental responsibility (CER), as a measure of CSR. Both conceptual and operational models incorporate three levels of analysis: institutional, organizational, and individual. The multilevel nature of the design allows for the assessment of the relative importance of the levels and of their components in the achievement of CER. Unweighted least squares (ULS) regression analysis reveals that the institutional-level variables have medium relationships with CER, some variables having a negative effect. The organizational level is revealed as having strong and positive significant relationships with CER, with organizational culture and managers’ attitudes and behaviors as significant driving forces. The study demonstrates the importance of multilevel analysis in improving the understanding of CSR drivers, relative to single level models, even if the significance of specific drivers and levels may vary by context.
- Corporate environmental responsibility