Increasing CSR and Organizational Reputation

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic of discussion for companies around the world, and Utah companies are no exception. One question is whether women influence the CSR or related social or community involvement of an organization. The Why Diversity Matters report states that “gender-inclusive leadership is associated with increased corporate social responsibility.”  It also cites research linking the number of women in leadership positions to a positive impact on a company’s social responsiveness.

In addition, the Committee for Economic Development argues that having more women on boards helps companies better engage with society.  For example, a study of privately owned Chinese firms showed that companies with more women on their boards were more likely to respond philanthropically to natural disasters. Multiple studies found connections between greater numbers of women leaders and significantly higher levels of corporate philanthropy.

In sum, research has found that women tend to be more concerned with CSR and feel more compelled to be involved with efforts to help society, particularly families, children, the needy, and others who are underserved.  The findings are important for any sectors in which individuals volunteer or are employed.

Research clearly shows that CSR activities have a positive impact on an organization’s reputation, and as the authors of one report stated, “Companies viewed as ethical or good corporate citizens were more likely to have more women board directors than companies without those reputations.” Internal culture and practices can strengthen organizational  reputation. For example, gender-diverse leadership teams and boards have been found to improve corporate reputation.

Another study found that having women on boards was clearly connected to a number of key social performance indicators linked to both internal and external reputation (e.g., community, corporate governance, diversity, employee relations, environment, human rights, and product-related social issues).

Source: Utah Women in Leadership Project, Research Brief No. 10, January 2015

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