Dr. Ashrafee Hossain

Highlight-Dr-Ashrafee-HossainPower wielded by top company leaders can be an obstacle in promoting workplace equality for LGTBQ+ employees, says a Memorial University researcher.

In a paper published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Dr. Ashrafee Hossain and his co-authors note that corporate sexual orientation equality is an inherent strategic corporate decision. Therefore, chief executive officers (CEOs), as the initiators of strategic decision-making, can have a great impact in developing LGTBQ+-friendly policies.

In their paper, Chief executive officer power and corporate sexual orientation equality, the authors note established benefits to pro-LGTBQ+ policies and initiatives, including improved firm value, stock returns and customer satisfaction.

However, they find that when CEOs' personal anti-LGTBQ+ beliefs or a desire to kowtow to majority stakeholder interests take precedence, they may act to block, delay or otherwise hinder equality related to sexual orientation in the workplace. This is more commonplace when firms have weak external monitoring, lower transparency and are located in a more religious country.

In the later instance, the desire to maintain a good relationship with the local community – an important source of CEO power – may be a factor in not promoting LGTBQ+ initiatives.

Dr. Hossain is an associate professor of finance at the Faculty of Business Administration. Co-authors include Dr. Jennifer Brodmann (California State University), Dr. Abdullah Al Masum (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) and Dr. Meghna Singhvi (California State University).