Date of Award


Degree Name

Business Administration


Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Lankton, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Mohammad Karim

Third Advisor

Mr. Norman Mosrie

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Doohee Lee


Real earnings management (REM) is costly in the form of intense loan restrictions, increased interest expense, and public scrutiny. Nevertheless, companies still practice REM. Based on agency and stakeholder theories, this research predicts that as a company’s CSR score increases, REM will decrease, and this association will become more negative when a critical mass of females on the board of directors exists and when a board-level CSR committee is present. This study also predicts that when a company offers an executive incentive plan based on CSR metrics, REM will decrease, and the relationship will become more negative with a critical mass of females on the board of directors and in the presence of a CSR committee. This study investigates S&P 500 companies from 2017 through 2022. Stata statistical software from StataCorp LLC is used to analyze data gathered from Compustat, CSRHub, and hand-collected data from SEC proxy statements, forms DEF 14A, using OLS regression. The results suggest that CSR-linked executive compensation, the presence of a critical mass of females on the board of directors, and the presence of a board-level CSR committee are important governance tools to mitigate REM. This study contributes to the limited coverage of research on CSR-based incentive plans and its association with REM. This study also demonstrates the complexity of these relationships by finding support that CSR committees act as a governance-related moderator that can provide additional monitoring over CSR and REM.


Corporations -- Accounting.

Social responsibility of business.

Diversity in the workplace.

Corporations -- Public relations.

Sustainable development.

Earnings management.