Academic journal article Review of Business

Competing Social Responsibility Values and Managerial Level

Academic journal article Review of Business

Competing Social Responsibility Values and Managerial Level

Article excerpt

Competing social responsibility (CSR) values have been shown to be influential in individual, psychological, career and organizational development (Schein, 1978; Osipow, 1983). Career and employment professionals, however, have been exposed to conflicting and mixed research results regarding the differential social responsibility profiles of lower (supervisory and first-line management) and upper (middle and top management) level managers. This ambivalent research outcome deprives practitioners in the field of clear guidelines for optimizing recruitment, selection, placement, development and appraisal of managerial talent.

Some research studies indicate that there is no difference in ethical/social responsibility values by managerial level (Aupperle, 1984; Barnett and Karson, 1989); other studies claim just the opposite (Posner and Schmidt, 1984; Chonko and Hunt, 1985). Still other research studies claim that differential ethical/social responsibility value profiles vary with specific situational dilemmas. For example, upper level managers may be less tolerant of fraud than lower level managers and lower level managers may be less tolerant of self-interested behavior than upper level managers (Fritzsche, 1988; Harris, 1990).

There has, however, been no research combining the difference between descriptive and normative social responsibility values by managerial level with the conventional corporate social responsibility values (e.g., economic, legal, ethical and discretionary) (Carroll, 1979; 1993; Aupperle, 1984). This line of research can be described as the competing social responsibility values (CSRV) approach. It provides a three-dimensional comparison among managerial perceptions of current organizational values (descriptive dimension), perceptions of preferred organizational values (normative dimension), and their relationship with traditional corporate social responsibility values. The extent of perceptual disparity between what the organization is valuing and what it should value can provide career guidance and employment professionals with a useful profile for matching managerial applicants with appropriate jobs for optimal effectiveness. Thus, the current study clarifies prior research and provides valuable insights for career and employment professionals. Research Objective

The purpose of the current research was to empirically assess competing social responsibility values of managers in business organizations. The following research question was formulated: RQ: Are there differences between descriptive and normative social responsibility values by managerial level? Understanding the job-related performance differences between the managers at different levels with regard to descriptive and normative social responsibility values would provide operating managers and field professionals with assistance in four areas: recruitment, selection, development placement and evaluation. First, recruitment and selection processes could be enhanced by job specifications that clearly specified differential sensitivity to competing social responsibility (CSR) values by managerial level. The fit between candidate and hiring organization is a relevant job-related variable in recruitment and selection to the degree it is associated with job performance. The CSR profile could indicate one dimension of that compatibility with expected role performance. As long as the CSR profile was not an overriding variable used independently or accorded excessive weight, it could be used in conjunction with other valid and reliable indicators to enhance the soundness and legality of human resource decision making. Second, since most management development programs do not differentiate between management levels, and management development trainers assume that skill requirements are the same for managers regardless of their level in the hierarchy (Blakely, Martinec and Lane, 1991), differences in CSR values by level would provide valuable input into targeting development programs more appropriately. …

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