This study investigates the performance measurement systems adopted by companies to manage their social responsibility activities, a theme that remains under-researched despite the important role that these mechanisms may play in helping firms control and improve their social performance. An integrative model is developed to examine how the three fundamental drivers of corporate social strategies, i.e., business motivations, perceived stakeholder pressures, and top management’s social commitment, influence the use of social performance indicators for internal decision-making and control and how such use impacts companies’ social and economic performance. The results from a survey of 97 Italian companies suggest that economic motivations and top management’s commitment are associated with a more intensive use of social performance indicators for decision-making and control, whereas perceived pressures from stakeholders do not represent a significant determinant of such use. The use of social performance indicators, in turn, is found to directly influence a firm’s social performance and, indirectly, its bottom line.
- Business case
- Social performance measurement systems