The Socioeconomic Background of Managers and Corporate Social Responsibility
International Critical Management Studies Conference, July 2011
25 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2012
Date Written: July 12, 2011
Several experimental findings from the social psychological field support the thesis of a negative relationship between a person’s socioeconomic background and the tendency to proactively engage in prosocial behavior. Coupling this insight with the reported self-reproduction of the corporate elite, the question of the social responsibility of this elite emerges. If findings match reality, a relatively low level of social responsibility is to be expected from those at the upper echelons of the economy. This paper provides theoretical support for this idea. Top executives who reportedly play a crucial role in shaping the CSR policies of their companies differ in their tendencies to proactively engage in prosocial behavior. These divergences can be partly explained through their distinct socioeconomic background. Scholars should therefore more often account for the individual characteristics and background of top executives. Understanding the effects of the recruitment process of the corporate elite on companies’ outcomes will deliver new insights to better understand the social behavior of companies. Furthermore, it could help to improve corporate governance policies, which have proven to be all but optimal in the wake of the recent economic crisis.
Keywords: socioeconomic background, business elite, CSR, prosocial behavior
JEL Classification: M14, J62, D21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation