How Contingency Adjusts Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Tourism Industry: A Quasi-Experiment in China

Hao Wang, Tao Zhang, Xi Wang, Jiansong Zheng, You Zhao, Rongjiang Cai, Xia Liu, Qiaoran Jia, Zehua Zhu, Xiaolong Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous organizational researchers have acknowledged that COVID-19 reduced the profit in the tourism industry. Some tourism firms decreased the cost by reducing the investment of CSR in order to increase the profit. However, the relevant literature remains scarce. The main purpose of this study is to explore the effect of COVID-19 on CSR investment in the tourism industry. This study fills the gap between stakeholder and cost stickiness theories. Based on a quasi-experiment of listed Chinese tourism companies from 2017 to 2021, the study finds that COVID-19 caused tourism firms to increase strategic CSR and decrease a responsive one. In addition, tourism firms that adopted cost leadership strategies trimmed responsive CSR more than strategic CSR. Tourism firms with differentiation leadership strategies increased strategic and decreased responsive CSR. Tourism firms with higher levels of political connections increased responsive CSR, while tourism firms with higher organizational resilience increased strategic CSR. At the theoretical level, this study reveals the theoretical mechanism of COVID-19 on tourism firms’ adjustment of CSR from the perspective of cost stickiness. On a practical level, it helps inform tourism firms’ decision-making regarding CSR adjustments for sustainable development when they face widespread crisis scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number83
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • COVID-19
  • CSR
  • cost leadership strategy
  • differentiation leadership strategy
  • organizational resilience
  • political connections
  • tourism companies


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