Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Shelton, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Dan Mertens, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Annette Nemetz, Ph.D.


The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the financial performance for publicly-traded firms operating in the energy sector. The energy sector has a unique role to play in global CSR efforts because of the size of the firms within that industry, their impact on the environment, and the operational risks that come with energy production. Previous research has been conducted on the relationship between CSR engagement and financial performance in various contexts, but this research has shown mixed outcomes – in some cases there is a positive relationship between CSR and performance while in other studies the research is non-existent or marginal (Lech, 2013; Jha & Cox, 2015). Thus, the research question for this study addresses a significant gap in the understanding of this topic by exploring the relationship between CSR and firm performance in a contextualized setting of the energy sector. A regression model was used to test the hypothesis that a correlation exists between CSR and performance. The independent variable in this study is the ESG disclosure score for each firm as published by Bloomberg (2016), which represents how much CSR activities each firm discloses. The dependent variable was a series of three financial metrics – return on assets, return on equity, and EBITDA. The relationship between the independent and dependent variables was tested for statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, and 1% levels on 0-4 year intervals, with a corresponding effect size reported for each relationship.