Stakeholder Orientation and Operations Outcomes: Evidence from Constituency Statutes
32 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2020 Last revised: 24 May 2021
Date Written: May 23, 2021
We study the effect of stakeholder orientation on operations decisions. For identification, we exploit a quasi-natural experiment that effectively reduced potential personal costs for executives pursuing stakeholder-oriented decisions, the staggered adoption of constituency statutes. Using a staggered difference-in-difference approach, we find that firms incorporated in constituency states (treated firms) are 15.9 percentage points (pp) more likely to hire a chief operating officer (COO) relative to firms in non-constituency states (control firms) post reform. We also find that treated firms engage more in operational decisions discussions and increase operational investments post reform. Importantly, a structural two-stage least squares approach reveals that these changes in operational decisions, operational investments, and COO hiring contribute to increasing firm value by 17.2%, 12.6%, and 9.3%, respectively. We further find that the chief executive officers of treated firms are less likely to be fired relative to control firms post reform. Altogether, our results suggest that constituency statutes lead to higher firm value by allowing executives to implement stakeholder-oriented operational decisions that were potentially personally too costly for them pre reform. To our best knowledge, our study is the first to identify a clear economic mechanism (i.e., the enlarged decision space for executives following the reform) through which stakeholder orientation, by affecting operations decisions, contributes to firm value. Our work contributes to the sustainable operations literature by identifying the separation between shareholders and managers as a fundamental determinant of responsible operations. Interestingly, while constituency statutes were intended to protect executives adopting stakeholder-oriented policies from shareholders’ sanctions, our findings suggest that these statutes benefited not only executives and non-equity stakeholders, but also shareholders. More broadly, our results indicate that policymakers need to assess the implications of regulatory changes beyond the targeted constituencies. Importantly, shareholders should recognize managerial freedom in operations decisions as an important value driver.
Keywords: Stakeholder orientation, executive decision space, operational decisions, firm value, staggered difference-in-difference, quasi-natural experiments.
JEL Classification: G02, G30, G32, M14, M40.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation