Predisposed, Exposed, or Both? How Prosocial Motivation and CSR Education Are Related to Prospective Employees’ Desire for Social Impact in Work

Business and Society (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Researchers have explored important questions about employees’ prosocial motivation to impact others through their work and about employees’ engagement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Studies show that job seekers are attracted to CSR-engaged employers, but little is known about whether and why prospective employees are attracted by job roles that allow them to have positive social impact. We used prosocial motivation theory to develop hypotheses about processes through which a greater desire for social impact in work is associated with being predisposed to it (due to trait-like prosocial motivation), being exposed to the possibility of it (through CSR-related educational choices), and both in partially mediated sequence. Analyses of data from 187 prospective employees provided support for most hypotheses. Our findings inform new directions for research on CSR and recruitment, the CSR education literature, and recruitment practices that leverage prospective employees’ desire for social impact through performing their regular work.

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