The Impact of Executives’ Gender, Financial Incentives, and Shareholder Pressure on Corporate Social and Ecological Investments

Jochen Theis, Marvin Nipper

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Abstract

Archival research suggests that female executives have an impact on corporate decision-making and generally finds positive associations between female board representation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance. However, archival research does not reveal why female executives decide differently in the context of CSR. As this is our starting point, we conduct an experiment and examine executives’ decision-making in terms of CSR investment. While female executives seem to be more oriented towards social and ecological practices, we find strong evidence that participants’ real-world incentive program mainly drives their CSR decision-making. We also examine if selected gender-specific character traits (risk propensity, sustainability attitude, and empathy) cause gender differences in executives’ CSR decision-making. In an exploratory analysis, we furthermore show that executives’ risk propensity affects their CSR decision-making conditional on the level of shareholder pressure they face. Our study contributes to the literature on executives’ decision-making and to the CSR literature by enhancing our understanding of determinants of executives’ CSR decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchmalenbach Journal of Business Research
Volume73
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)307-338
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • CSR
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Ecological Investments
  • Executives’ Decision Making
  • Gender

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