Articles & Blogs, Category = Research updates

How Board Members Really Feel About ESG, from Deniers to True Believers

“we interviewed 25 experienced European non-executive directors representing 50 large, well-known companies. […] Unsurprisingly, we encountered a wide range of individual attitudes — from out-and-out skepticism around the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria to fervent belief. But when we looked a little more closely we discovered that directors cohere around five distinct archetypes of behavior. In profiling the different types, we identified strategies to help directors overcome resistance to ESG issues at the director level.”

To Get Companies to Take Action on Social Issues, Emphasize Morals, Not the Business Case

“We’ve seen the business case for a plethora of social issues: increasing diversity, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, corporate volunteering programs, reducing poverty, and treating employees well. Yet some have questioned whether we always have to make the business case. For example, don’t many organizational leaders want to improve society as an end in itself? Research also shows the business case can activate a leader’s “economic schema,” or a tendency to make decisions solely from an economic viewpoint, which can lead to less compassionate behavior. So we set out to scientifically study whether the business case or the moral case for combatting social problems was most persuasive to managers.”

Market Power

“It is a no-brainer that business people don’t really like competitive market capitalism, despite all their exhortations about the value of markets. Just read any of The Wealth of Nations to find Adam Smith with the same view. Business people much prefer rigged markets, as long as they are on the inside. So it is no surprise that new research finds that converting health care insurance from non-profit to for-profit leads to a rise in premiums (not the fall that would be anticipated because of greater market efficiencies).”

We All Want Increased Choice in Elder Care – But Neoliberal Health Policies Make This Difficult

“While governments pay lip service to the notion of choice, their disinvestment in public home care services means that older people and their families often have no choice but to ‘choose’ for-profit home care providers, as these are becoming the norm for elder home care. […] Home care is a high involvement purchase, which requires considerable time and emotional investment. But people in need of care might not have all the necessary information, skills or time required to navigate intricate care markets.”

The ‘Sharing Economy’ Simply Dresses up Our Consumerist Tendencies in a More Palatable Ideology

“This shift to peer-to-peer transactions is often portrayed as an antidote to the consumer culture of modern society because it supports sharing instead of ownership. But have sharing platforms simply created a new form of capitalism? Research suggests that rather than transforming us, the sharing economy simply repackages our same old consumerist impulses in a more appealing message.”

Why Social Entrepreneurs Are So Burned Out

“Is it reasonable to expect a for-profit enterprise, and its employees, to address large-scale social problems? Helping those most in need and running a commercially viable business at the same time can create conflicting of goals. Our research, which explores how this conflict manifests itself in the lives of entrepreneurs working within for-profit companies, provides the first robust evidence that it can have serious repercussions for their health and wellbeing.”

When Competition Between Coworkers Leads to Unethical Behavior

“In our research, recently published in the journal Human Resource Management, we found that performance evaluation schemes based on peer comparison can encourage unethical behavior. […] We propose a subtle and simple intervention we call consequential reflection: prompt individuals to reflect on the positive and negative consequences of their decisions.”

Woke Washing: What Happens When Marketing Communications Don’t Match Corporate Practice

“Brand activism has become the new marketing tactic of choice, and a brand’s stance on societal and political issues can offer a differentiating factor in a fast-paced corporate marketplace. […] However, while consumers expect big brands to take a stand, they may not believe them when they do.”

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