Do CEO Rhetorical Strategies Affect Corporate Social Performance? Evidence from China
How can chief executive officers (CEOs) persuade employees to participate in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, so as to enhance firms’ corporate social performance (CSP)? The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between CEO rhetorical strategies and firms’ CSP. According to Aristotle’s classification, we divide CEO rhetorical strategies into three categories: pathos, ethos, and logos, using the text analysis method. We apply a Probit model to predict whether CEOs use rhetorical strategies and then adopt fixed-effect multiple regression models to measure the impact of various rhetorical strategies on CSP. An empirical analysis based on data on the listed manufacturing companies in the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange from 2014 to 2016 shows that both CEO pathos strategy and CEO logos strategy have positive effects on CSP; however, the relationship between the CEO ethos strategy and CSP is not significant. Our findings contribute to upper echelons theory and CSR research and provide suggestions for CEOs to apply proper rhetorical strategies.