Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name


Faculty Mentor

Kenneth Hunsader


Gwendolyn Pennywell, Christopher Lawrey


There has been a shift towards a new model of corporate operation, one which prioritizes not only the company shareholders but anyone affected by its operations, i.e., stakeholders. Although many believe this is a path towards a more equitable future, others fear it could cause agency issues. As a result, companies that focus on ESG/Stakeholder Capitalism may experience the adverse effects of slow growth, costing shareholders, employers, and employees in the long term. To determine if there was an impact from 'The Shift' to an ESG model by the major corporations, this study compared internal (accounting) and external (market) data. The sample comprised members who signed the 2019 Business Roundtable Pledge. The pledge signed on August 19, 2019, stated that all companies that agreed to sign would begin to adopt a model of ESG/Stakeholder Capitalism. For the accounting data, changes in selected ratios were compared between the years 2017 to 2022. The market data was analyzed during the set timeframe of 120 days before 'The Shift' to 120 days thereafter. There were very few significant results between the tested variables and accounting ratios, supporting no effect, which implies firms may be greenwashing. The market data test shows that there is little evidence that investors are concerned about switching to stakeholder capitalism. In general, we conclude there was not much change in companies' activities that would affect these variables; however, more testing is needed.


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Available for download on Tuesday, December 03, 2024