Corporate Purpose in Public and Private Firms

Category: Applied Microeconomics and Organization Seminar
When: 17 February 2021
, 14:00
 - 15:00

Title: "Corporate Purpose in Public and Private Firms" (with George Serafeim)


Analyzing data from approximately 1.5 million employees across 1,108 established public and private US companies, we find that employee beliefs about their firm’s purpose is weaker in public companies. This difference is most pronounced within the salaried middle and hourly ranks, rather than senior executives. Among private firms, purpose is lower in private equity owned firms. Among public companies, purpose is lower for firms with high hedge fund ownership and higher for firms with long-term investors. We interpret our findings as evidence that higher owner commitment is associated with a stronger sense of purpose among employees within the firm.