This study examines whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting is influenced by the cognitive characteristics of the CEO. Grounded in the impression management literature, we propose that overconfident CEOs use a more positive tone in their CSR reporting because this reflects their perceived "above average" abilities to manage their firm's CSR practices and performance. We also advance corporate governance research by showing that this positive relationship is more salient when CEOs are large shareholders because CEOs become more powerful and confident to impose their biased impressions on the firm. Finally, we show that the board of directors may mitigate overconfident CEOs' usage of positive tone in CSR reporting when directors have more CSR experiences or have incentives to monitor CSR reporting. We find empirical support for our arguments in a sample of S&P 500 firms for the period 2006-2013.
Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) 11425