Essay on corporate attention

Ulianiuk, Pavlo (2022) Essay on corporate attention. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis empirically examines the determinants and consequences of managers attention. To assess that we use textual analysis of chairman and CEO’s letters to shareholders of FTSE 350 companies during the 2000-2016 period. The thesis developed to answer three main questions: What determines managers attention? Does it affect company performance? Does it depend on company ownership?

The first paper investigates how managerial attention to goals and stakeholders has changed over time. Building on the attention-based view, we argue that managerial attention is shaped by institutional logics, as well as organizational roles and firm-specific factors. We find that, over time, attention to shareholders declined and attention to customers, society and CSR increased. These shifts were more pronounced during the financial crisis and for prominent firms. Organizational roles strongly affected the allocation of attention. Our findings support several key tenets of the attention-based view and shed light on the recent debate over the purpose of the corporation.

The second paper considers the significant role of managerial attention across companies and studies its impact on business activity. The paper investigates whether attention to a particular goal/stakeholder drives corresponding company performance or its market value. Obtained results are consistent with both problemistic- and opportunity- driven search theories. In line with the former one, companies that face low financial performance, operation efficiency or customer satisfaction dedicate more attention to such problems trying to overcome them. Following the latter one, companies that dedicate more attention toward growth and innovation as potential opportunities and improve corresponding performance.

The third paper examines how investors’ CSR orientation and ownership concentration affect a single goal of firms’ CSR performance and corresponding communications. We create a measure of investors’ CSR orientation by distinguishing between responsible investors – those that have publicly pledged to implement the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment – and non-responsible investors, who have not. We find that responsible investors positively affect CSR performance, while ownership concentration is detrimental to it. Also, both ownership concentration and investors’ CSR orientation could explain why some companies use greenwashing or engage in actual well-doing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 11:10
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 11:10


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