The impact of female non-executive directors on CSR decoupling
The primary objective of this study is to examine the impact of female non-executive directors on CSR in the UK. This study posits that female non-executive directors enhance the monitoring role of boards and improve decision-making processes, while focusing on stakeholders’ satisfaction and gaining societal legitimacy, which is expected to enhance CSR practices. Accordingly, this is expected to decrease the level of misalignment between CSR performance and disclosure, thus decreasing CSR Decoupling.
This study uses a sample that consists of companies that are constituents of the FTSE 350 index during the period of 2012-2019. To avoid survivorship bias, the list of 2012 is used going forward. Thomson Reuters (Refinitiv) and Bloomberg databases have been used for data collection. The percentage of female non-executive directors was collected manually from annual reports. In total, the sample includes 2,832 firm-year observations.
This study finds that having more female non-executive directors on boards is positively associated with CSR performance and disclosure, which is consistent with prior literature. The impact of female directors is stronger when there are more than three females on boards, which is referred to as the critical mass. Furthermore, the study revealed a negative association between the percentage of female non-executive directors and CSR decoupling, indicating that having more female directors on boards can help enforce information symmetry between CSR performance and disclosure. This effect was consistent across industries, and the critical mass of female non-executive directors enhanced the impact on CSR decoupling. However, the impact of female non-executive directors may be less clear when firms have higher CSR performance than disclosure, as females may prefer to be more conservative in their level of disclosure in such cases.
The study suggests some practical implications for regulators and policy makers in addition to proposing theoretical implications, particularly the use of CSR Decoupling as a measure for CSR. Overall, this study offers valuable insights for improving non-financial reporting and transparency in corporate practices and enhancing CSR literature.
- Loughborough Business School
Rights holder© Menatulla Wahid Helmy Hafez Mohamed
NotesA Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Supervisor(s)Noel O'Sullivan ; Yasser Eliwa
This submission includes a signed certificate in addition to the thesis file(s)
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