Corporate Social Responsibility And Covid-19 Global Crisis: Managerial And Financial Perspectives In Developed And Emerging Countries


Guest editors:

Enrico Battisti, University of Turin (Italy)

Michael Christofi, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)

Stefano Bresciani, University of Turin (Italy)

Demetris Vrontis, University of Nicosia (Cyprus)



During the past decade, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its implications on businesses has attracted a lot of attention from both scholars and practitioners. CSR can be defined as a combination of strategies, practices and principles that firms follow to strength and create relationships towards stakeholders and the environment (Carroll, 1979; Waddock, 2004; Nejati et al., 2014). Due to the increase of issues tied with environmental and ethical aspects, CSR has become a key element for business strategies (Kim et al., 2018) and operations (Zheng et al., 2015). For example, several US companies have increased their investment on CSR either voluntarily, or by being part of their strategy and visions, or due to pressures from activist shareholders (Deng et al., 2013). Although the objectives seem clear, the principles that regulate CSR are more fragmented (Nirino et al., 2020; Surroca and Tribo, 2008) and the continuous changes in the competitive context in which the companies operate (i.e. listed and unlisted firms, national and multinational enterprises) have seen the characteristics of CSR change during the time. 

Moreover, management behavior plays a crucial role in developing CSR strategies. Managers can implement “real” or “symbolic” CSR actions (Kim et al., 2012). Through the implementation of “real” strategies management contributes to the development of a corporate culture focused on principles related to sustainability and ethics, with the use of resources and investments at the expense of other projects. Whereas in “symbolic” CSR managers show to investors a positive corporate image but they do not provide real investments, thus leading to a misalignment of interests between managers and owners. These implications made our understanding on the impact of CSR strategies on businesses more difficult. Hence, with the development of new theoretical constructs and new models, it is necessary to better understand the dynamics and critical factors of the relationship between CSR and company performance as well as the context in which they operate (Lin et al., 2019; Surroca et al., 2010).

In developed countries, CSR has become an important element for firms, as CSR strategies enhance their competitiveness and corporate reputation (e.g., Becker-Olsen et al., 2006; Aguilera et al., 2007). Moreover, of particular interest (in terms of context influences) are also countries considered as fastest-developing, such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa), Next Eleven (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam), and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Tur-key), in which different cultural and social aspects can influence CSR strategies in different ways compared to developed countries (Aguinis and Glavas, 2019). For example, in China and India companies are more engaged in charity and philanthropic actions and they favor less choices related to the environment and human rights (Sardana et al., 2020).

Covid-19, the disease produced by a new strain of coronavirus called acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has had several effects for various stakeholders, including shareholders, businesses, consumers and markets. The specific features of the Covid-19 event are unique and the impact of this unpredictable exogenous event leads to a rethinking of strategies for the firms in developed and emerging market economies. In this context, CSR strategies must be re-thought and strengthened, leading to new business models and new type of investments for the companies (e.g. Bresciani and Olivera, 2007; Del Giudice, et al., 2017).

The effects related on Covid-19 can be more important than any other global crisis in living history and its impacts on financial and managerial practices could be significant. Accordingly, the need for research insights in order to develop and enhance stakeholder theory, institutional theory and resource-based perspectives (RBP) in the context of international crises is of great importance. Moreover, the extraordinary financial transactions (e.g., mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, de-mergers) should be revisited and tied with CSR principles, which in turn, the impact of CSR on company performance (on different levels) should also be re-evaluated.

Therefore, there is a need to shed light - before, during and after a pandemic crisis in developed and emerging contexts - on the complex relationship between i) CSR and corporate social performance (CSP), and/or between CSP and financial performance, ii) CSR, performance and extraordinary financial transactions, and iii) CSR and responsible managerial practices.


Special issue aims

This Special Issue aims on providing insights and tools to help management scholars - as well as executives of SMEs, emerging market SMEs, MNEs and emerging market multinationals enterprise (EM-MNEs) - to navigate through, overcome, and learn from the Covid-19 global crisis. The Special Issue seeks contributions that will help develop and enhance stakeholders theory, institutional theory and resource-based perspectives (RBP) in the context of international crises and thereby assist managers adjust and align moving forward. Papers considered for the Special Issue must address a real-world CSR question before, during and/or after Covid-19 crisis, with particular regards on financial (e.g. performance, extraordinary transactions) and/ or managerial (e.g. innovation practices, sustainable strategies, human resource management) perspectives.  Purely theoretical papers (e.g., systematic literature reviews, qualitative meta-analysis review) are welcome, as are empirical papers that contribute to theory using any methodological approach (e.g., time-lag studies, longitudinal studies, surveys, cross-national comparative studies, case-studies).


Topics to be discussed in this special issue include (but are not limited to) the following:

CSR in developed countries and emerging countries (such as, BRICS, Next Eleven, CIVETS, MINT) after-during-before the Covid-19 global crises

  • CSR and extraordinary financial transactions.
  • CSR and behavioral practices during extraordinary financial transactions.
  • CSR and long-term M&A performance linkage.
  • CSR activity and M&A outcome variables.
  • ESG practices and the pursuits of M&A by EM-MNEs and/or MNEs
  • CSR and cultural similarity in M&As.
  • CSR and financial performance in SMEs/emerging market SMEs and MNEs/EM-MNEs.
  • CSR and corporate social performance in specific sector heavily affected by Covid-19.
  • CSR and management practices.
  • CSR and innovation management.
  • CSR and behavioral corporate social responsibility perspective.
  • CSR and intellectual capital
  • CSR and knowledge management
  • CSR and institutional, societal and organizational influences.


Submission procedure and information

Submissions to the special issue should be sent electronically through the "Management Decision" ScholarOne System. The manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines for authors given in the website of the journal "Management Decision":

Authors need to clearly indicate in their submission information and letter that their manuscript is for the Special Issue on "Corporate social responsibility and covid-19 global crisis: managerial and financial perspectives in developed and emerging countries". All submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process followed by "Management Decision" Journal. All manuscripts must be original, unpublished works that are not concurrently under review for publication elsewhere. Questions about this special issue may be directed to the leading guest editors.


Submission Deadline:

Submissions for the special issue will be open between 1 August 2021 and 31 December 2021.

Provisional publication date: end of 2022.


For any queries, contact the leading guest editors (refer contact details below):



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