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Corporate Social Irresponsibility: International Evidence

   School of Business

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  Dr Ahmed Hassan Ahmed, Dr Yang Wang  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Currently, there are more than 4,900 institutional investors and service providers that have signed onto the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), representing $121 trillion of assets under management, up from $6.5 trillion in 2006 (PRI, 2022). The rise reflects pressure on companies from a range of different stakeholder groups to contribute to societal by engaging in environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices (Moser and Martin, 2012; Lin-Hi and Muller, 2013; Ahmed et al., 2019; Eliwa et al., 2021; Martini, 2021). In parallel, issues surrounding ESG have received extensive attention from academicians and commentators (see, e.g., McWilliams and Siegal, 2000; Margolis et al., 2009; Derwall et al., 2011). However, the vast majority of these studies focus on the “doing good” side of ESG practices rather than “avoiding bad”, and this tendency represents one of the major weaknesses in the ESG literature (Lang and Washburn, 2012; Lin-Hi and Muller, 2013). In extreme cases, irresponsible environmental, social and governance (IESG) practices can cause significant long-lasting harm to a business, including firms as prominent as British Petroleum (BP). Following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the then President of the United States, Barack Obama, made it clear that BP would be held financially responsible for the damage caused (Lin-Hi and Muller, 2013). This high-profile intervention led Tony Hayward, the CEO of the firm at the time, to state that: “The capital market was effectively closed for BP; we were not able to borrow in the capital market either medium or short-term debt at all.” Consequently, the company had to set aside $20 billion to satisfy compensation demands and remained involved in multiple claims relating to the catastrophic damage caused a decade later (Schwartz, 2020).

This PhD will give you the opportunity to explore this understudied area of corporate social irresponsibility (CSI). We invite submissions of proposals analysing the potential determinants and consequences of corporate socially irresponsible practices. Moreover, we are interested in quantitative submissions that use diverse theories and rigorous empirical model to help advance our understanding of this issue. Our PhD candidate will explore issues such as:

  • CSI and its effects on different measures of corporate performance,
  • CSI and its impacts on stock price crash risk and other types of firm risk, and
  • Corporate governance level determinants of CSI.


  • To be accepted to study for a PhD, applicants need to have an undergraduate degree of at least 2:1 (or equivalent) or a master’s degree, in a subject related to the proposed PhD topic.
  • English language requirements – a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.

To apply please ensure you include the following documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  3. Two references on headed paper (academic and/or professional).
  4. Research proposal, CV and samples of written work.


  • Deadline for submission: 14 October 2022
  • Interviews: November TBC
  • Start date: January 2023

Please submit to Professor Norin Arshed ([Email Address Removed] ) and Research Lead, Linn McFarlane ([Email Address Removed]).

The University of Dundee aims to transform lives, working locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge.

We build on our success by investing in excellent facilities, pushing the boundaries of research, and equipping our staff and students with the means to create real-world impact. Dundee’s research is highly rated by the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2022), which assesses the quality and impact of research submitted by universities across the UK. Furthermore, 84% of the University’s research was found to be ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

The School of Business within the University of Dundee is the United Kingdom’s and Scotland’s newest and fastest growing business school with an internationally diverse faculty and student population. We pride ourselves with always working towards delivering an excellent student experience.

We’ve recruited outstanding academic faculty from the UK and around the world, who are both excellent teachers and researchers. Research excellence that informs our teaching and impact our communities remains of utmost importance to us. We regard ourselves as a ‘research intensive’ business school where research serves to build excellence in teaching and our engagement with our communities here and internationally. Our academics present their research throughout the world and publish their research in leading academic and industry outlets. We are impacting the world around us.

Funding Notes

Waiver: Six PhD scholarships are advertised but only three are funded. This is a competitive process and only three of the strongest applications will be selected.


Ahmed, A. H., Eliwa, Y. & Power, D. (2019), The Impact of Corporate Social and Environmental Performance on the Cost of Equity Capital. UK Evidence. International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 27(3), 425-441.
Derwall, J., Koedijk, K., and Ter Horst, J. (2011). A tale of values-driven and profit-seeking social investors. Journal of Banking & Finance, 35(8), 2137-2147.
Eliwa, Y., Aboud, A. & Saleh, A. (2021) ESG practices and the cost of debt: Evidence from EU countries. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 79.
Lang, D., & Washburn, N. (2012). Understanding Attributes of Corporate Social Irresponsibility. The Academy of Management Review, 37(2), 300-326.
Lin-Hi, N., & Muller, K. (2013). The CSR Bottom Line: Preventing corporate social irresponsibility. Journal of Business Research, 66, 1928–1936.
Margolis, J.D., Elfenbein, H.A. & Walsh, J.P. (2009), Does it pay to be good...and does it matter? A meta-analysis of the relationship between corporate social and financial performance”, Working Paper, SSRN, available at: (accessed 20/01/2021).
Martini, A. (2021). Socially responsible investing: from the ethical origins to the sustainable development framework of the European Union. Environmental Development and Sustainability, Last accessed 19/1/22
McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. S. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective. Academy of Management Review, 26, 117–127.
Moser, D.V., & Martin, P. R. (2012 A Broader Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility Research in Accounting. The Accounting Review, 87(3), 797–806.
Principles for Responsible Investments (2022) Signatory Update. Available online at (accessed on 26/07/2022).
Schwartz, M.S. (2020) Beyond petroleum or bottom-line profits only? An ethical analysis of BP and the Gulf oil spill. Business and Society Review, 125(1), 71-88.
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