Companies with sustainability and corporate social responsibility as part of their DNA enjoy reputational and competitive advantages in their marketplace. This forms the crux of Shuili Du’s influential research findings that have appeared in top-tier scholarly journals such as Management Science and top-tier trade publications such as Harvard Business Review.
“I found that people think of themselves not only as ‘consumers’ or ‘investors’ but also as parents, members of a community and other identities with a wide range of needs.”
Du pioneered a multi-stakeholder approach to evaluating corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a competitive strategy.
“I look at the real world of business to see how consumers, employees and investors react to CSR,” Du says. “I found that people think of themselves not only as ‘consumers’ or ‘investors’ but also as parents, members of a community and other identities with a wide range of needs.”
Du’s reputation places her in high demand as a consultant for firms seeking to implement or evaluate CSR initiatives. In recent years, for example, she helped Proctor & Gamble evaluate its Crest Healthy Smiles program, a partnership between P&G and the Boys and Girls Club to promote oral hygiene among disadvantaged families.
“We conducted a field experiment to examine behaviors of consumers who participated in Healthy Smiles and found increased brand purchase and loyalty,” Du says,
Her work with the German financial services giant Allianz uncovered a powerful link between employee satisfaction and a company’s CSR engagement.
Researcher of the Year
Associate professor of marketing Shuili Du won Paul College’s 2016 Outstanding Research Award.
She has 13 journal publications with 2,161 citations. Her research has appeared in premier journals including the Journal of Consumer Research, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, International Journal of Research in Marketing and International Journal of Management Review.
“We discovered that employees look for three things in their careers,” Du says. “Salary, professional advancement and societal impact. ‘Am I making a positive difference?’ is an important question employees ask themselves.”
In addition to fieldwork, Du and her Paul College colleagues also have examined data from 453 firms worldwide to discover a strong relationship between sustainability orientation, open innovation and new product development success.
“Firms that seek inputs from various stakeholders such as suppliers, customers and the larger community exponentially expand their knowledge base and become more innovative,” Du says.