The influence of a CSR spread on acquisition outcomes from a customer perspective

  • Julia Jostes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study investigates the extent to which a spread in corporate social responsibility (CSR)between two acquisition partners can influence the outcome of CSR-motivated mergers and acquisitions (M&As). In line with the assumptions of stakeholder theory and signalling theory, we aimed to investigate whether all kinds of CSR investments result in favourable outcomes.To do so, we decided to focus on the outcomes for an acquisition’s target with a high CSR performance. Customer-based corporate reputation was chosen as the main variable of analysis, as improved corporate reputation is one major potential outcome of CSR engagement. We chose a causal research method to investigate our research objective. We further tested for the moderating effects of familiarity, own CSR support and cultural background. Our findings demonstrated that acquisitions could result in negative customer reactions when the target has a high CSR score, and the acquirer performs poorly in terms of CSR. When the acquisition partners showed congruent CSR engagement, customer’s evaluations of the target improved slightly. We did not detect moderating effects for CSR support and cultural background. Familiarity, however, seemed to have some impact on the outcomes of our analysis. These findings suggest that managers need to include the cultural fit, and specifically the CSR performance of both companies, in the due diligence process before an acquisition.
Date of Award7 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAugusto Sales (Supervisor)


  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Customer-based corporate reputation
  • Stakeholder theory
  • Cultural fit


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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