Building the Theoretical Puzzle of Employees’ Reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility: An Integrative Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda

Journal of Business Ethics 149 (3):609-625 (2018)
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Abstract

Research on employees’ responses to corporate social responsibility has recently accelerated and begun appearing in top-tier academic journals. However, existing findings are still largely fragmented, and this stream of research lacks theoretical consolidation. This article integrates the diffuse and multi-disciplinary literature on CSR micro-level influences in a theoretically driven conceptual framework that contributes to explain and predict when, why, and how employees might react to CSR activity in a way that influences organizations’ economic and social performance. Drawing on social identity theory and social exchange theory, we delineate the different but interdependent psychological mechanisms that explain how CSR can strengthen the employee–organization relationship and subsequently foster employee-related, micro-level outcomes. Contributions of our framework to extant literature and potential extensions for future research are then discussed.

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