Female Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting: Effects on Writing, Readability and Future Social Performance
Forthcoming, Advances in Accounting DOI:10.1016/j.adiac.2020.100475
Posted: 10 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 20, 2020
This study examines how the gender of corporate social responsibility (CSR) leaders (as signers of the CSR reports) could affect two psychometric properties (i.e., solidarity and certainty) and the readability of the reports. We also investigate how these gender-based differences are associated with firms' future perceived social performance. We conduct textual analyses on a sample of 346 firms in the S&P500 index that issued annual CSR reports during the period of 2006 to 2015. Our findings show that CSR reports with a female (vis-à-vis male) executive as the signer or co-signer are more readable, show more solidarity with readers, but express less certainty in the narratives. In examining their impacts, we find that readability and solidarity, but not certainty, are positively associated with firms' future social performance. Our results suggest the value relevance of leveraging greater female representation in firms' CSR reporting leadership teams so as to help firms enhance their social objectives and signal their future social performance.
Keywords: Female leadership, CSR report, Solidarity, Certainty, Readability, Firms' social performance
JEL Classification: J16, M14, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation