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The link between female representation in the boards of directors and corporate social responsibility: Evidence from B corps. (01a Articolo in rivista)

Ardito Lorenzo, Dangelico Rosa Maria, Messeni Petruzzelli Antonio

Prior studies have examined the link between female representation in the boards of directors (BoD) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, these studies have underestimated the multidimensional nature of CSR, whereby CSR comprises different dimensions, and organizations engage in CSR activities in various degrees, thus leading to potentially contrasting performance respect to such different dimensions. Therefore, this study aims at (a) elucidating the varying mechanisms underlying the effects of the presence of women on BoD and several dimensions of CSR performance and (b) testing these effects considering multiple CSR performance measures (i.e., environmental performance, employees' well-being, customers' management, community engagement, and ethical governance). To do so, we propose a set of hypotheses based on upper echelon and social role theories that are tested on a sample of European and US certified Benefit Corporations (B Corps). Results reveal that female representation in the BoD is not beneficial for each specific CSR dimension, albeit it is beneficial at an aggregate level. Specifically, it is positively associated with customers' management and community engagement, negatively related to environmental performance and employees' well-being, and not significantly associated with ethical governance.
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