Directors & Corporate Social Responsibility: Joint Consideration of Director Gender and the Director’s Role
corporate social responsibility; corporate governance; female directors
Taylor & Francis
Social and Environmental Accountability Journal
We examined the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and director characteristics, including director gender and director role. Directors can have different roles on the board: executive directors (who are also managers of the company) and non-executive directors. Non-executive directors may be independent directors or grey directors (who are not executives but who have a relationship with the company or its executives that could compromise their independence). Female directors have been found in previous studies to be associated with CSR. We consider whether female directors are associated with CSR regardless of their director role, or whether females in different director roles may be more strongly associated with CSR. Using 4,194 firm-year observations from 2013 to 2015, we found that boards with more female directors have more CSR strengths and fewer CSR concerns. When examining the different roles assumed by female directors, we found that female independent directors are most strongly associated with CSR. Female executive directors were not associated the CSR and we had mixed results regarding female grey directors. Our results suggest the female director/CSR relationship depends upon both the gender of the director and the board role played by the director.