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IACMR Research Seminar Series Session #23

TopicAssessing the Social Impact of Corporations: Evidence from Management Control Interventions in the Supply Chain to Increase Worker Wages
SpeakerGreg Distelhorst , University of Toronto
When: 9:00-10:15am, April 20, 2022 (China Time, UTC+8)
Where: Zoom
Language: English
Registration link:

Do corporate social responsibility programs in global supply chains produce measurable social impacts? This study examines an attempt by a large multinational garment retailer to increase wages at its suppliers’ factories via management control interventions focusing on worker-management dialogue around wage issues and changing remuneration structures. Difference-in-differences estimates based on eight years of data from over 1,800 factories in nine developing countries show that the interventions were associated with an average wage increase of approximately 5 percent over the three years following their implementation. The wage gains were many times greater than simply transferring the financial resources invested by the buyer directly to affected workers. Further analyses shed light on contextual factors associated with the effectiveness of the wage interventions, including the presence of trade unions and assessments of supplier quality. These findings have implications for the design of management control interventions for social impact in global supply chains.

Speaker Bio

Greg Distelhorst is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, appointed at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and the Rotman School of Management. His research focuses on multinational business, the social impact of corporations, and worker rights, as well as politics and policy in contemporary China. It appears in peer-reviewed social science journals including the American Journal of Political ScienceManagement ScienceOrganization ScienceIndustrial and Labor Relations ReviewThe Journal of PoliticsPerspectives on PoliticsComparative Political Studies, and the Quarterly Journal of Political Science. He was previously a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. He holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University and a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.