Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Dr. Vikas Agarwal

Second Advisor

Dr. Oguzhan Karakas

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Murray

Abstract

This paper examines how, when, and where environmental, social, and governance (ESG) behavior varies globally. I build on existing research that proposes country-of-origin constructs, such as regulatory and cultural foundations, influence ESG behavior of firms. Specifically, I propose that perceived differences in ESG standards for developed and emerging markets incentivize multinational enterprises (MNEs) to exhibit different levels of Corporate Social Irresponsibility (CSI) when operating abroad versus at home. My findings show that developed market-headquartered MNEs behave more irresponsibly in emerging markets than they do at home, while emerging market MNEs behave better when operating in developed markets. Importantly, the abroad-versus-home differences in the ESG behavior of MNEs appears to be driven more by governance than social or environmental factors. These findings contribute to the understanding of how presence in multiple markets shapes the ESG behavior of MNEs. This research contributes to practice by illuminating market-based norms that can act as benchmarks for ESG-focused investors and help guide shareholder engagement activities. Importantly, it offers nuanced insights for global policymakers as they seek to achieve better ESG outcomes for society.

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