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School of Business and Management

Rafia Afrin

 Rafia Afrin


Project title

"Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Financial Performance – Criticisms and Extensions"

Project description

There is enough theoretical and empirical evidence in extant literature to suggest that corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance (CFP) are intertwined. However, the results in terms of nature and extent of the relationship are extremely varied, and recent studies suggest more specialized approaches rather than just looking for a blanket answer. This research will aim to dig deeper into the specific details of the “why” and “how” of CSR and CFP relationship, by breaking down these two constructs in a meaningful way and analysing the associated context, conditions and parameters of this relationship.

This research identifies and works with three specific parameters which closely affects the CSR-CFP relationship – i) Past CSR Records: the previous levels of CSR performance of firms may affect the market reaction to an incremental responsible or irresponsible action; ii) Green Washing Effect: There often exists substantial differences between CSR communications and performance of a firm; this research will try to differentiate between actual CSR executions in the past, vs., empty words to see if the market reacts differently to an announcement of new CSR action in both cases; iii) Difference by Stakeholder type: The CFP impact of CSR may also vary greatly based on the stakeholder group the action is targeted at, especially if we look at the primary and secondary classification of stakeholders. The research will take an event study approach to analyse these factors.


1st Supervisor: Professor Frances Bowen
2nd Supervisor: Dr. Ni Peng


Rafia Afrin is currently in the 4th year of her PhD studies at SBM, QMUL. Previously, she completed her BBA and MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University, the oldest and most prestigious business school in Bangladesh, topping her batch both times with highest CGPA. She has got extensive experience in teaching and research, both in Bangladesh and in the UK. As a teaching associate at Queen Mary, she has taught a number of modules including Financial Management, Financial Markets and Institutions, and Quantitative Research Methods. Prior to that, she worked in the capacity of a lecturer and, then, assistant professor at the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University, and taught various Finance and quantitative modules. She earned the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship for pursuing PhD in the UK in September 2016, and is currently finalizing her PhD dissertation on the financial impacts of corporate water actions.

Her thesis is titled “Shareholder reaction to corporate water actions – Effects of CSR reputation and attributions of stakeholder orientation”. The thesis focuses on the financial and stock market implications of CSR actions by firms, focusing on the particular field of water; studies the economic asset (or liability) like properties of socially responsible (or irresponsible) investments by firms; and explores the positive and negative reputation created through prior responsible and irresponsible social performance by firms and how these affect market reactions to a subsequent firm action. The next phase of the research then moves on to analyze shareholder sentiments towards these firm actions and prior performance, through a detailed investigation of their attributional thinking, their cognitive judgements and biases, and reputational effects on them. On a broader level, her research interests include sustainable finance, CSR and firm performance and value, investor awareness and sentiments, and shareholder wealth effects. Her research cuts across multiple disciplines like finance, sustainability, strategy, and management.

Her work has gained recognition at leading international conferences like the Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM) in 2019 and 2020, including nomination for best paper (top 10%) at AOM, 2019. The two main empirical chapters of her dissertation are currently under review at world-leading or internationally-excellent journals.


Conference presentations and proceedings

  • Afrin, R., Peng, N., & Bowen, F. (2020). An Attributional Model of CSR: Market Reactions to Water Actions in Different Stakeholder Domains. 80th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM). August 7-12. Virtual.
  • Afrin, R., Peng, N., & Bowen, F. (2019). Shareholder Reaction to Corporate Water Actions and the Reputational Effects of CSR. 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM). August 9-13. Boston, Massachusetts. Selected as one of the best papers in the conference (top 10%) and published in the conference proceedings
  • Afrin, R., Peng, N., & Bowen, F. (2019) Shareholder Reaction to Corporate Water Actions and the Reputational Effects of CSR. Behavioral Finance Working Group Conference. 6-7 June. Queen Mary, University of London, UK.
  • Mamun, M. Z., Ahmed, N., & Afrin, R. (2015). Customers’ Perception of Ethical Issues in Corporate Governance of Islamic Banks in Bangladesh. Sustainability and South Asian Perspective - 18th South Asian Management Forum. 26th-27th March. Colombo, Sri Lanka. pp. 72-89. Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA) & Institute of Certified Professional Managers (CPM).


  • Afrin, R. (2017). Analyzing the potential of Altman’s Z-score for prediction of market performance and share returns – A case study of the cement industry in Bangladesh. The AUST Journal of Science and Technology. Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, 6 (1-2) :1-16.
  • Mamun, M. Z., & Afrin, R. (2015). Ethical and Social Perspective of Islamic Banking in Bangladesh: Clients’ Overall View. Social Science Review [The Dhaka University Studies, Part – D].
  • Mamun, M. Z., & Afrin, R. (2015). Operation of the Superstore Chains in Bangladesh – Problems and Prospects. Social Science Review [The Dhaka University Studies, Part – D], 32 (1): 11-25.

Currently under review

  • Afrin, R., Peng, N., & Bowen, F. (2020). An attributional model of CSR: How stakeholder orientation explains market reactions to corporate water actions. Submitted to Strategic Management Journal in October, 2020
  • Afrin, R., Peng, N., & Bowen, F. (2019). Shareholder Reaction to Corporate Water Actions and the Reputational Effects of CSR. Revise and resubmit offered at Journal of Business Ethics, October 2020