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Abstract

This study examines share price reactions to 231 work-family human resource policies adopted by Fortune 500 companies and announced in the Wall Street Journal between 1971 and 1996. Consistent with past research, the results suggest that firm announcements of work-family initiatives positively affected shareholder return. The authors also empirically test three hypotheses concerning how the timing of work-family initiatives influences shareholder reaction. They find that a pioneering company announcing the first-ever implementation of a work-family initiative was likely to realize a larger announcement-day share price increase than did later adopters of the same initiative; the first workfamily announcement released by a firm influenced announcement-day share price more than did successive work-family announcements by the same firm; and share price reactions to work-family human resource decisions were not importantly affected by whether those decisions followed a gender discrimination suit.

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