We experimentally investigate how managers' decisions to invest discretionary resources in the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are affected by whether the investment decision is denominated in financial or nonfinancial measures (i.e., the measurement basis used for decision making). We posit that nonfinancial measures bring attention to the society-serving nature of CSR investments, thus activating the pro-CSR social norms of the company and managers' personal CSR norms. Norm activation, in turn, influences managers' investment decisions to the extent that social norms are congruent with personal norms. As predicted, we find that the level of CSR investment is higher under a nonfinancial measurement basis than under a financial measurement basis, but only when the manager is personally supportive of CSR. Supplemental analysis indicates that CSR-supportive managers continue to invest more under a combined financial/nonfinancial measurement basis than under a financial measurement basis only. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
JEL Classifications: C91; M41.