Recent years have featured a leap in academic and public interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and related corporate reporting. Two main themes in this literature are the exploration of management incentives to engage in and disclose this information, and of the use and value of this information to market participants. We extend the second theme by examining the interest that specific investor classes have in the use of CSR information. We rely on feminist intersectionality, which suggests that gender (...) intersects with other identities to yield different values, experiences, and opportunities that can lead to gender-based preferences for CSR information. Based upon a survey of 750 US-based retail investors, we find that female retail investors have a greater interest in the use of CSR information, relative to male retail investors. Women express greater anticipated future demand for this information than do men. Further, the magnitude of the increase from current use to anticipated future demand is greater for women than men. Age is a significant modifying factor in that the discrepancy between women of any age and older men is greater than that between women and younger men. Finally, women also exhibit greater demand for streamlining of the information flow, consistent with pressures induced by time poverty. It appears that current disclosure practices provide a less than optimal match with the needs of the information consumers that are primarily interested in using this information. This mismatch may result in a systematic disenfranchisement of female investing classes which suggests an ethical need to level the playing field. (shrink)
“Ought” cannot be derived from “is,” so why should facts about human nature be of interest to business ethicists? In this article, we discuss why the nature of human nature is relevant to anyone wishing to create a more just and humane workplace and society. We begin by presenting evolutionary psychology as a research framework, and then present three examples of research that illuminate various evolved cognitive programs. The first involves the cognitive foundations of trade, including a neurocognitive mechanism specialized (...) for a form of moral reasoning: cheater detection. The second involves the moral sentiments triggered by participating in collective actions, which are relevant to organizational behavior. The third involves the evolved programs whereby our minds socially construct groups, and how these can be harnessed to reduce racism and foster true diversity in the workplace. In each case, we discuss how what has been learned about these evolved programs might inform the study and practice of business ethics. (shrink)
Memory evolved to supply useful, timely information to the organism’s decision-making systems. Therefore, decision rules, multiple memory systems, and the search engines that link them should have coevolved to mesh in a coadapted, functionally interlocking way. This adaptationist perspective suggested the scope hypothesis: When a generalization is retrieved from semantic memory, episodic memories that are inconsistent with it should be retrieved in tandem to place boundary conditions on the scope of the generalization. Using a priming paradigm and a decision task (...) involving person memory, the authors tested and confirmed this hypothesis. The results support the view that priming is an evolved adaptation. They further show that dissociations between memory systems are not—and should not be—absolute: Independence exists for some tasks but not others. (shrink)
This paper examines six cross-sector partnerships in South Africa and Zambia. These partnerships were part of a research study undertaken between 2003 and 2005 and were selected because of their potential to contribute to poverty reduction in their respective countries. This paper examines the context in which the partnerships were established, their governance and accountability mechanisms and the engagement and participation of the partners and the intended beneficiaries in the partnerships. We argue that a partnership approach which has proven successful (...) in one context can be used as a valuable learning resource. However, a partnership's work, which includes all aspects of the partnership and its activities, cannot necessarily be transferred directly to another partnership without a thorough and locally informed analysis of the context in which it is implemented. In addition, we suggest that it is difficult to assess whether the good intentions behind partnerships were translated into real benefits for target groups as effective monitoring and evaluation procedures were not in place in the partnerships studied. Similarly, the absence of regularised governance and accountability systems in partnerships made it difficult to support partner and beneficiary participation and engagement. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to partnerships and that partnership replication should focus more strongly on the transfer of learning about partnership processes instead of simply copying partnership activities. Moreover, the development of stronger mechanisms for assessing and ensuring accountability towards both partners and intended beneficiaries is required if partnerships are to meet their intended objectives. (shrink)
For two decades, the integrated causal model of evolutionary psychology (EP) has constituted an interdisciplinary nucleus around which a single unified theoretical and empirical behavioral science has been crystallizing – while progressively resolving problems (such as defective logical and statistical reasoning) that bedevil Gintis's beliefs, preferences, and constraints (BPC) framework. Although both frameworks are similar, EP is empirically better supported, theoretically richer, and offers deeper unification. (Published Online April 27 2007).
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dramatically expanding area of activity for managers and academics. Consumer demand for responsibly produced and fair trade goods is swelling, resulting in increased demands for CSR activity and information. Assets under professional management and invested with a social responsibility focus have also grown dramatically over the last 10 years. Investors choosing social responsibility investment strategies require access to information not provided through traditional financial statements and analyses. At the same time, a group of mainstream (...) institutional investors has encouraged a movement to incorporate environmental, social, and governance information into equity analysis, and multi-stakeholder groups have supported enhanced business reporting on these issues. The majority of research in this area has been performed on European and Australian firms. We expand on this literature by exploring the CSR disclosure practices of a size-and industry-stratified sample of 50 publicly traded U. S. firms, performing a content analysis on the complete identifiable public information portfolio provided by these firms during 2004. CSR activity was disclosed by most firms in the sample, and was included in nearly half of public disclosures made during that year by the sample firms. Areas of particular emphasis are community matters, health and safety, diversity and human resources (HR) matters, and environmental programs. The primary venues of disclosure are mass media releases such as corporate websites and press releases, followed closely by disclosures contained in mandatory filings. Consistent with prior research, we identify industry effects in terms of content, emphasis, and reporting format choices. Unlike prior research, we can offer only mixed evidence on the existence of a size effect. The disclosure frequency and emphasis is significantly different for the largest one-fifth of the firms, but no identifiable trends are present within the rest of the sample. There are, however, identifiable size effects with respect to reporting format choice. Use of websites is positively related to firm size, while the use of mandatory filings is negatively related to firm size. Finally, and also consistent with prior literature, we document a generally self-laudatory tone in the content of CSR disclosures for the sample firms. (shrink)
The architecture of the hazard management system underlying precautionary behavior makes functional sense, given the adaptive computational problems it evolved to solve. Many seeming infelicities in its outputs, such as behavior with “apparent lack of rational motivation” or disproportionality, are susceptibilities that derive from the sheer computational difficulty posed by the problem of cost-effectively deploying countermeasures to rare, harmful threats. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Classical notions of Common Ground have been criticized for being cognitively demanding given their appeal to complex meta-representations. The authors here propose a distinction between Immediate Common Ground, containing information specific to the communicative situation, and General Common Ground, containing information that is not situation-specific. This distinction builds on previous work by ], extending the idea that common cognitive processes are part of the establishment and use of common ground. This is in line with the idea that multiple cognitive resources (...) are involved in dialogue and avoids appealing to special-purpose representations for Common Ground purposes. (shrink)
Recent years have featured a spate of regulatory action pertaining to the development and/or disclosure of corporate governance structures in response to financial scandals resulting in part from governance failures. During the same period, corporate governance activists and institutional investors increasingly have called for increased voluntary governance disclosure. Despite this attention, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of governance disclosure practices and response to the regulation. In this study, we examine a sample of 50 U.S. firms and their public (...) disclosure packages from 2004. We find a high degree of variability in the presentation and reporting format choices for many elements of the governance structure. This variability includes several items for which disclosure is mandated by regulators or legislative action. In particular, smaller firms offer fewer disclosures pertaining to independence, board selection procedures, and oversight of management (including whistleblowing procedures). There are also trends associated with board characteristics: boards that are less independent offer fewer disclosures of independence and management oversight matters. Moreover, large firms provide more disclosures of independence standards, board selection procedures, audit committee matters, management control systems, other committee matters, and whistleblowing procedures but do not appear to have a strictly superior information environment when compared to smaller firms. The findings raise questions about compliance with regulatory requirements and the degree to which conflicts of interest between managers and directors are being controlled. While there have been notable improvements in the information environment of governance disclosures, there remain structural issues that may possess negative ramifications for stakeholders. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that autobiographical memory can be conceptualized as a mental state resulting from the interplay of a set of psychological capacities?self-reflection, self-agency, self-ownership and personal temporality?that transform a memorial representation into an autobiographical personal experience. We first review evidence from a variety of clinical domains?for example, amnesia, autism, frontal lobe pathology, schizophrenia?showing that breakdowns in any of the proposed components can produce impairments in autobiographical recollection, and conclude that the self-reflection, agency, ownership, and personal temporality are (...) individually necessary and jointly sufficient for autobiographical memorial experience. We then suggest a taxonomy of amnesic disorders derived from consideration of the consequences of breakdown in each of the individual component processes that contribute to the experience of autobiographical recollection. (shrink)
I argue that both language acquisition and cultural and social factors contribute to the formation of schemata that facilitate false belief reasoning. While the proposal for an active role of language acquisition in this sense has been partially advanced by several voices in the mentalizing debate, I argue that other accounts addressing this issue present some shortcomings. Specifically, I analyze the existing proposals distinguishing between “structure-oriented” views :1858–1878, 2007; de Villiers in Why language matters for theory of mind. Oxford University (...) Press, New York, pp 186–219, 2005), that stress the role of language as a set of rules providing syntactic input and providing a representational format, and “cultural/social-oriented views”, that stress the role of social interaction. Starting from the analysis of these views, I defend my own account of the role of language acquisition in aiding false belief reasoning. I argue that language acquisition plays a pivotal role in the formation of schemata used by pre-schoolers to pass the false belief task. I propose a specific learning mechanism for exploiting linguistic information that taps into specific cognitive abilities, thus making a very concrete suggestion about the role of linguistic input in specific cultural contexts for the development of false belief skills. (shrink)
Classical notions of Common Ground have been criticized for being cognitively demanding given their appeal to complex meta-representations. The authors here propose a distinction between Immediate Common Ground, containing information specific to the communicative situation, and General Common Ground, containing information that is not situation-specific. This distinction builds on previous work by Horton and Gerrig , extending the idea that common cognitive processes are part of the establishment and use of common ground. This is in line with the idea that (...) multiple cognitive resources are involved in dialogue and avoids appealing to special-purpose representations for Common Ground purposes. (shrink)