Fostering diversity implies inclusiveness and support of LGBTQ+ communities. LGBTQ+ issues have been the subject of deep and polarized debates in the wider society. Corporations, being an integral component of society, need to make important choices on this polarizing topic. It should be no surprise that the corporate world has produced examples of firms that have been open about their support to the LGBTQ+ community while others have publicly opposed same-sex marriage and stripped benefits from same-sex partners of their employees. Others still may have decided to sit on the fence.
What are the factors that determine corporate LGBTQ+ policies and what drives changes in these policies? Tanja Artiga González, Paul Calluzzo, G. Nathan Dong, and Georg D. Granic study this question in the paper “Determinants of LGBTQ+ Corporate Policies.” The paper’s objective is the identification of the different factors explaining LGBTQ+-related corporate policies and the divergent choices made by corporations on this issue.
The authors argue that the divisive nature of the societal debate around LGBTQ+-rights makes LGBTQ+-centered corporate commitments and engagements quite distinct from other corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies adopted by firms. LGBTQ+ engagement could be described as more sensitive and controversial than many other conventional CSR activities. Such engagement can also potentially generate dissatisfaction among the wider stakeholder base of corporations. In the paper, the authors capture corporate LGBTQ+ policy using the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a measure developed by the Human Rights Campaign that is based on four main criteria: nondiscrimination policies, internal education and accountability, public commitment, and equitable benefits. The paper finds that large, young, and profitable firms have higher CEI scores. Firms with highly-educated workers, those that operate in more liberal political environments, and those that primarily serve retail customers tend to have higher CEI scores. Further, a firm’s LGBTQ+ policies respond to pressure from shareholders through LGBTQ+-related proposals.
Spotlight by Camelia Kuhnen
Photos courtesy of Tanja Artiga González, Paul Calluzzo, G. Nathan Dong, and Georg D. Granic