CEOs with daughters make kinder, gentler bosses?

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It turns out there’s some element of truth to the Despicable Me movies where the villain is transformed from being Super Bad to Super Dad after he has to father three little girls. Now new research has shown that having a daughter also impacts the way CEOs run their companies.

A study of some of the largest companies in the US shows that CEOs with daughters spend an extra $59.5 million per year on corporate social responsibility (CSR). They also tend to lean towards more diversity in the workplace when it comes to gender and minorities, show greater concern for employees, and do more to ensure work-life balance. In fact, having a female child makes a male CEO almost a third more likely to make CSR decisions similar to those made by a female CEO.

The new research was done by CEIBS Finance Professors Henrik Cronqvist and Frank Yu. They looked at the decisions made by almost 400 American CEOs who, between them, have a total of almost 1,000 children. Previous research had shown that judges with daughters tend to vote more liberally. So too are congressmen with daughters, especially when it comes to reproductive rights issues. This is the first time, though, that the effect on the behaviour of CEOs from large corporations has been examined.

“Male CEOs with at least one daughter show a stronger attachment to society at large and concern for the well-being of stakeholders other than their shareholders. This may be expressed as increased concern for not only diversity, but also the environment, employee relations, and similar issues,” says Prof Frank Yu.

The paper is available for download at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2618358

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