The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Organizational Commitment

By Prutina, Zana | Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, March 2016 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Organizational Commitment


Prutina, Zana, Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues


1. INTRODUCTION

Over the years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been explored from different perspectives - normative, institutional, stakeholder, integrative, political, transactional - and this multifaceted approach greatly contributed to our understanding of CSR, even if it still remains an "essentially contested concept" (Gond and Moon, 2011). While CSR is often broadly understood as "actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interest of the firm and that which is required by law" (McWilliams and Siegel 2001:117), the firm's interests have been a great driver of CSR research, visible in the exploration of the link between CSR and firm's (mostly financial) performance (Waddock and Graves, 1997; McWilliams and Siegel, 2001; Orlitzky et al., 2003). Evidence points to the increasing usage of CSR programs as a way of achieving competitive advantage (Matten and Moon, 2008). At the other end of the spectrum, the link between CSR and other organizational outcomes, such as organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions, have remained relatively unexplored (Brammer et al, 2007; Hansen et al., 2010; Turker, 2009b; Lee et al., 2013). While there exist different motivations for CSR, more researchers are beginning to understand and analyze CSR in the context of strategic and value orientation (Jonker and de Witte, 2006), shifting the focus of research from tailoring CSR for better financial performance to that of the overall betterment through CSR (value creation) in the long term, benefitting both stakeholders and the organization. CSR can therefore be redefined as not going beyond firm's interest, but aligning CSR with company interest to create shared value (Porter and Kramer, 2011).

In studying how CSR relates to organizational outcomes, researchers have recently become interested in employees' role (Bolton et al., 2011; Kim et al., 2010). Although scholarly discussions have been pointing to CSR being a participative and integrative process (McLagan, 1999), it often occurs that in practice top management dictates the desired values, without employee involvement (Bolton et al., 2011). As internal stakeholders, employees can have a significant impact on both the development and implementation of CSR strategy. Evidence, although limited, points to the positive relationship between CSR and affective organizational commitment (Brammer et al., 2007; Turker, 2009b).

There exists an agreement among scholars that CSR, if it is to have a positive impact on organizational outcomes, must be integrated into organization's business strategy and its organizational culture (i.e. Jonker and de Witte, 2006; Collier and Esteban 2007; Carlisle and Faulkner, 2004). Involvement in CSR can range from implementing activities in order to improve company's image and increase short-term profit to the more strategic and more value-building approach which over time becomes embedded into the organizational culture. The relationship between CSR and positive outcomes has not been empirically tested while accounting for embedded CSR culture. In order to better understand the effect of CSR on organizational commitment, this paper explores whether employee engagement in CSR and CSR values, as two elements of CSR organizational culture, mediate the impact of CSR on organizational commitment. Research results are relevant to academics studying relationship between CSR and various outcomes, especially affective organizational commitment, as well as to practitioners who can use these findings to create programs that will help embed CSR culture into their organizations and improve organizational commitment.

2. RESEARCH BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES DEVELOPMENT

2.1. CSR and organizational commitment

Propositions such as "doing well by doing good" and "what is good for society is good for the company" prompted researchers to address the effect of CSR on various organizational outcomes, including workplace attitudes and behavior. …

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