Promoting the ‘other’ – corporate social responsibility

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In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th 2015, IRG Executive Search & Selection will be providing a series of points of view to prove the business case for gender diversity at the executive level.

Corporate social responsibility is an acknowledgement by companies that their actions do not simply occur in a vacuum but within a broader remit- society as a whole.

Companies now recognise that they must promote certain citizenship standards through their activities, measured against normative expectations of responsible conduct. In order to do so, company composition must indicate that the company is able to represent societal interests and promote commonly-held views such as equality of opportunity. In a recent study by a non-profit organisation, it was found that more gender-diverse boards scored highly for certain individual factors relating to corporate social responsibility, such as community, environment, supply chain and customers, as well as more generally when these individual scores were aggregated.

Why does the increased presence of women in organisations have such an effect upon corporate social responsibility?

Board composition influences the nature and direction of board deliberations, ultimately affecting the decision-making process at the root of corporate social responsibility activities. Board members often have similar backgrounds and mind-sets, expediting agreement due to uncontentious groupthink. Women, of different backgrounds and mind-sets, will infuse decision-making with new perspectives, challenging traditional assumptions and forcing the re-examination of practices for potential improvement.

Studies have also found that women have a stronger ‘other’ orientation than men, who hold a stronger ‘self’ orientation. Logically this will lead to women balancing the weighting of wider considerations more fairly and with more regard for how the company’s conduct should account for social responsibility. As a result, board deliberations will incite more debate, encouraging innovation and providing a wider-reaching, more selfless base of action.

Organisations must take ownership of diverse and inclusive employment practices in order to anchor the trust of society. Simply responding to external pressures diminishes the sincerity of actions and leads to questioning of the organisation’s credibility. Diversity must be integrated into an organisation’s strategy, stemming from the board and therefore having a wider-reaching effect on strategy going forward.

IRG is co-hosting a 2015 event in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event embraces the UN’s International Women’s Day theme for 2015, “Making It Happen,” and explores the theme, “Stepping Up Together”. For real change to be implemented, IRG believes that men and women together need to fully commit to changing the imbalance in diversity.

We have already lined up some inspirational and motivational sessions and we’ll be working with Care International UK, who will help us understand their latest campaign “Walk In Her Shoes”.

For more information please visit: http://www.irgexecutivesearch.com/iwd-2015

International Women’s Day (IWD)
Make it Happen – “Stepping Up Together”
5 March 2015| Mayfair, London

Michael Mcloughlin is the Managing Director and Aimée-Leigh Musgrave is an Executive Search Consultant with IRG Executive Search & Selection.