The Relevance of Corporate Social Responsibility for a Sustainable Human Resource Management: An Analysis of Organizational Attractiveness as a Determinant in Employees' Selection of a (Potential) Employer

By Lis, Bettina | Management Revue, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Relevance of Corporate Social Responsibility for a Sustainable Human Resource Management: An Analysis of Organizational Attractiveness as a Determinant in Employees' Selection of a (Potential) Employer


Lis, Bettina, Management Revue


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a central issue of business management in recent years. This study aims to add to the literature by pointing out the relevance of CSR for a Sustainable Human Resource Management (HRM). In particular this research investigates job seekers' perceptions of CSR. The paper focuses on the importance of CSR with in the process of selecting potential employers by analyzing the impact of four different CSR-dimensions upon organizational attractiveness. To address this issue, a policy-capturing study was conducted. Generally the paper provides evidence that each aspect of CSR has a specific effect on organizational attraction. Referring to Sustainable Management the study reveals that CSR seems to be an effective tool to attract potential employees. If organizations are willing to provide Sustainable HRM practices they can become an employer-of-choice.

Key words: corporate social responsibility, Sustainable Human Resource Management, organizational attractiveness, prospective employees, sustainability (JEL: J24, M12, M14, M50)

1. Introduction

The apparent scarcity of highly skilled and motivated employees is one of the main problems Human Resource Management (HRM) is facing today. Many firms now realize the importance of attracting highly qualified employees as a necessary component of their business (Bhattacharya et al., 2008). The result of demographic change (especially in Europe), decreasing birth rates and an increasing number of people over standard retirement age, is consequendy leads to a reduction in the availability of suitable candidates. To avoid this reduction in candidate companies must engage in what has been called a 'war-for-talent' and create incentives and image that present them as a good company (Backhaus et al., 2002; Losse, 2010).

Referring to Sustainable HRM organizations need to identify a method that ensures resource availability while simultaneously retaining these resources (Docherty et al., 2008; Ehnert, 2009a; Zaugg, 2009). Thus, it is essential to consider internal as well as external human resources in order to secure a stock of employees over the longterm. From a market-oriented perspective organizations have to align their HRM practices to the needs of the diverse human workforce (Wright et al., 1995; Boudreau & Ramstad, 2005). Meanwhile research has provided evidence that job seekers prefer organizations with socially valued characteristics (Albinger & Freeman, 2000; Backhaus et al., 2002; Greening & Turban, 2000). Therefore the organizations should consider using Sustainable HRM practices (e.g., diversity, work-life balance) in order to become an employer-of-choice.

Many scholars and practitioners now are paying increasing attention to firms' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a part of the offerings to attract a large number of qualified employees (e.g. Angelidis & Ibrahim, 2004; Hansen & Schrader, 2005; Scherer & Palazzo, 2008). Some researchers found that firms with a reputation for high quality CSR may be more attractive (e.g. Turban & Greening, 1 997; Backhaus et al., 2002; Kim & Park, 2011). However, previous research failed to capture a more complete spectrum of CSR in distinct aspects. As suggested by CSR literature, CSR is a multi-aspect construct accommodating not only economic concerns, but also noneconomic concerns such as diversity or employee relations (Backhaus et al., 2002). Thus, the impact of every single dimension of CSR is of interest.

This study extends the research by adopting a multi-dimensional perspective of CSR. It focuses on the importance of CSR in the process of selecting potential employers by analyzing the impact of four different CSR-dimensions: environment, diversity, product and employee relations (Greening & Turban, 2000; Backhaus et al., 2002). The aim of this study is to identify which of the four CSR-dimensions that are most important to job seekers. …

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