The Impact of Corporate Supplier Diversity Programs on Corporate Purchasers' Decision-Making Regarding Women-Owned Enterprises: An Empirical Test Using the Theory of Planned Behavior
Though 48% of all privately-held firms are at least 50% owned by a woman or women, women-owned enterprises received only 9% of the institutional investment deals and 2% of the dollars in 1999 in 2006. In the corporate supplier market, women-owned enterprises obtained only 4% of the market share. These figures indicate that women or women-owned enterprises face some level of hurdles in the marketplace. Drawing on Ajzen's (1991) theory of planned behavior, the study explored the impact of corporate supplier diversity programs on corporate purchasers' intention to purchase from women-owned enterprises. Two hundred seventy two corporate purchasers across a diverse range of industries and geographical regions in the U.S. participated in a scenario-based mail survey. The findings suggest that corporate supplier diversity programs did influence the purchasers' intention to purchase, and the influence was more direct than indirect, contrary to some of the hypotheses proposed in the study. The findings contribute to both the corporate social responsibility literature and the women's entrepreneurship studies. With regard to the corporate social responsibility literature, the findings demonstrate that it is possible for business to incorporate positive duty into its core economic activities without compromising its financial gains and that the economic-aligned and duty-aligned orientations can be integrated. With reference to the women's entrepreneurship studies, the findings point to a way to overcome the hurdles that women-owned enterprises face. Given that 40% of the corporations do not have a supplier diversity program, the findings have practical implications as well; corporations are urged to implement a supplier diversity program if they do not have one, and to be committed to implementing their programs if they already have established one, for doing so is simply another case of doing well by doing good.