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By: Audrey Ballinger. The Corporate “Me”: How Fortune 500 Companies Represent Diversity in Non-financial Reports. What is a Corporate Report? . Financial Report. Non-financial Report. Not Required Company’s responsibility for developing a Sustainable economy Environmental isssues
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Company’s responsibility for developing a
“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large” – World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Social Sustainability/Responsibility Report
Communicate to shareholders and customers
Transparency and credibility
Organizations have a great ability to exert positive change on the word’s economy, environmental and social conditions
Leads to improved sustainable development, because it allows organizations to measure and improve their performance
This study is a… -content analysis of -ten Non-financial reports of -Fortune 500 CompaniesTo examine… -how America’s top corporations -represent DIVERSITY
Diversity “a company that values diversity and employs a diverse workforce retains a competitive edge.” (Sue, 1991)
“Diversity Training is no longer perceived as the socially responsible thing to do; instead, it is now viewed as a strategic business objective with the capability to make the organization more competitive.” (Holladay, Knight, Paige, Quinones, 2003)
“(diversity training) in and of itself is unlikely to contribute to overall organizational change.” (Arai, Wanca-Thibault, Shodley-Zalabak, 2001)
2006 Study by Dobbin, Kalev and Kelley
“Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies”
Found the most effective diversity training structures contained:
-Accountability (annual evaluation of specific goals)
-Authority (appointment of staff to monitor diversity)
-Expertise (various departments to oversee diversity initiatives)
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
According to the University of Amsterdam and KPMG’s Global Sustainability Services
Fortune 500 Companies issuing separate corporate responsibility reports in 2005
-33% of top 100 Fortune 500 Companies
-52% of the top 250 Fortune 500 Companies
Theory of Self
“The Self, the I and the Me”
Self is socially constituted by adopting the attitudes and perspectives of others
“Body” – can act without the self being involved
“Self” – separate from the body, experienced indirectly through communication with others
“I” (subject) – initiates action and represents all of the possible choices of behavior
“Me” (object) – social self who is aware of cultural norms, attitudes and values
“conversation of gestures” – when one communicates they expect certain responses in others and will change action based upon the responses by other
The Corporate “Me”
“Me” (company) – decides what to report based on reactions from previous reports or the “conversation of gestures”
Following the GRI guidelines will become an expectation.
Diversity Training- works to change negative attitudes of the trainees acquired from previous socialization
- Generalized other
- Understand their “Me”
- Use self reflection to create a culturally sensitive environment
Original study - “What are the top diversity leaders in corporate America doing to promote/implement diversity within their companies?”
Information was coded from 10 CSRs that had direct correlation to the company’s diversity initiatives or reporting practices
“The United States and many countries have laws and regulations regarding business gratuities that may be accepted by government personnel. Because entertainment and business gifts are an important part of doing business in some cultures, it requires special training to determine to what extent these laws are permitted.”
50% of companies provided statistics on the number of women and minorities they employ
60% provided information on women employed in company hierarchy
40% provided information on minorities employed in company hierarchy
Other forms of diversity were only briefly mentioned in either a definition of diversity or employee networks that the company supports
80% of reports referenced online links for more information about company diversity
70% mentioned providing some type of diversity training
The sustainability reports promote transparency and accountability of a company’s policies and understanding of diversity
Although 90% of reports used GRI guidelines, the information was not consistent
The CSR include selected positive information they are eager to boast about
Standardization must be required before the information provided can be taken as a serious program of cultural awareness rather than a marketing tool
Future: more reliable audits need to be administered, the progress of programs need to be tracked and more measurable information needs to be provided
Since the information that companies choose to report is voluntary, the amount of information regarding diversity can provide insight as to weather a company values diversity.
Every company mentioned improving diversity as a goal, yet only 50% gave statistical information regarding the amount of women and minorities in the workforce.
It can be inferred that America’s top companies realize that diversity is not currently a strength and there is need for improvement.
Trends in Corporate Sustainability Reports are paving the path towards more socially responsible and aware companies.
Make Connections to Diversity Leaders
-attend a conference
-face to face interviews
Identify what a company is doing for their diversity initiatives vs. what they are reporting