Stepping across for social approval: Ties to independent foundations' boards after financial restatement

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Abstract

Research Summary: Integrating research on independent philanthropy and organizational misconduct, we argue that affiliations with independent foundations provide social approval benefits for firms that restate their financials. We use a panel of S&P 500 companies from 2004 to 2011 to investigate the addition of foundation board ties by restating firms. CEOs of restating firms add more new foundation board ties than CEOs of non-restating firms, while existing corporate philanthropy and greater corporate reputation diminish this effect. We also find that new ties to foundations boards influences media tenor for restating firms more than it does for non-restating peers. Our study offers a nuanced analysis of the post-crisis actions of restating firms relative to non-restating peers and highlights the relevance of ties to nonprofit boards for corporate governance. Managerial Summary: Firms oftentimes fire their top executives in the aftermath of misconduct, but such response is itself disruptive for the firm's operations. Instead, we suggest that forging ties to independent foundations can help firms in such contexts without unsettling effects. Our results show that, after a restatement event, CEOs of misconduct firms are especially likely to join new foundation boards as trustees and thus seem to be aware of the benefits of these associations. CEOs from firms with existing in-house philanthropy or a high reputation do not join as many new foundations' boards of trustees. We also find that new firm-foundation links are promptly and positively evaluated by the media, thus helping misconduct firms regain social approval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1187
Number of pages25
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

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