How to embody the vanguard and exemplary role of Party member CEOs in enterprises in the new period is a topic worth discussing. Based on the imprinting theory, this paper focuses on the role of Party member CEOs in enterprise practice, and probes into the influence of Party member CEOs’ ideological imprint on corporate philanthropy. Joining the Party is a process of constantly accepting the edification of the Party’s fundamental purposes, ideals, beliefs, and codes of conduct. The ideological imprint of “serving the people” “devoting to the society” “altruism” and “maintaining advanced nature” formed by the long-term socialized edification process continues to affect the decision-making behavior of Party member CEOs in the organization, promote them to consider the overall interests of the people and society, and actively contribute to the people and society.
Based on the research sample of A-share listed companies in China from 2004 to 2017, this paper empirically tests the influence of Party member CEOs’ ideological imprint on corporate philanthropy and boundary conditions. The research shows that the experience of joining the Party makes Party member CEOs bear a strong ideological brand of serving the people and contributing to the society, and can promote Party member CEOs to increase charitable donation in their enterprises. Moreover, the intensity and persistence of Party members’ ideological imprint will be affected by internal and external situational factors. When the past life experience（living in the Lei Feng Era）and the current external institutional environment（national policy orientation）of Party member CEOs show the characteristics of consistency with Party members’ ideological imprint, the ideological imprint will be strengthened and maintained. The perception and transformation of Party members’ ideological imprint is influenced by the interaction between Party member CEOs and government information and the authority of individual organizations. The higher the degree of direct interaction（political participation）between Party member CEOs and the Party and the government, the more conducive to the continuous perception and penetration of Party members’ ideological imprint; the higher the authority status（management autonomy）of Party member CEOs in the organization, the more conducive to the transfer and transformation of Party members’ ideological imprint at the organizational level. All these factors strengthen the influence of Party member CEOs’ ideological imprint on corporate philanthropy.
This paper expands the existing research on the internal driving factors of corporate philanthropy from the micro-level of Party member CEOs’ ideological imprint. It emphasizes the difference of Party members’ ideological imprint on intensity, persistence, perceptual penetration, and transformation. By introducing specific situational factors under the background of Chinese system, the situational mechanism is discussed more systematically from the four aspects of “strengthening, persistence, penetration, and transformation”. It is helpful to better understand how the individual ideological imprint affects the decision-making behavior of contract organizations（enterprises）. This paper has important guiding significance for perfecting the management structure and CEO/TMT selection mechanism, and promoting corporate social responsibility.