How do childhood values influence corporate responsibility?
Many executives reported a values shift because of their stage of life. Executives most often highlighted parenthood as an important part of their personal journey. The talked about the importance of leaving the legacy of a sustainable environment for their children, or of seeing the world through their children’s eyes. Parenthood appears to influence the executives’ values evolution and, in particular, the strength of the value of care.
A story told by another executive demonstrates formative values taught by his grandmother relating to the merit of hard work. The principle of persistence lay behind his organisation’s achievements.
When he witnessed the environmentally irresponsible behaviour of his competitors while travelling internationally, his value of sustainable stewardship rose in importance. This had developed because of his life experiences and personal reflections led him to work in the clean-tech sector.
The influence that the board has on CR adoption was echoed in his story, highlighting the power the board has in determining CR investments and effort.
He explained: “When it comes to the board, there are instances where we definitely speak about topics that are not financially related. To be honest it’s tough, particularly with the make-up of our board. It’s very difficult to connect on an emotional level outside of business performance. But one must not stop trying."
(Co-author: Candice Chow, DBA, Henley Business School)