Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 365–377 | Cite as

Responsible Management, Incentive Systems, and Productivity

  • Ivan HilliardEmail author


A disconnect remains between theories about responsible management and application in real-life organizations. Part of the reason is due to the complexity and holistic nature of the field, and the fact that many of the benefits of aligning business objectives with changing societal conditions are of an intangible nature. Human resource management is an increasingly important part of the field with benefits including talent retention, higher levels of motivation, and improvements in organizational cohesion. This paper sets out an experiment run at a large Spanish university to try to analyze the impact on worker productivity of a responsible management stance by an employer. Based on the Corporate Social Performance model, the paper examines the issue from the point of view of responsibilities, responsiveness, and outcomes, and considers the cost/benefit effect of incorporating a social responsibility variable into the wage structure to measure the impact on productivity.


Corporate Social Performance Human resources Motivation Productivity 


  1. Aldama, L. R. P., Amar, P. A., & Trostianki, D. W. (2009). Embedding corporate responsibility through effective organizational structures. Corporate Governance, 9(4), 506–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aupperle, K. E., Carroll, A. B., & Hatfield, J. D. (1985). An empirical examination of the relationship between corporate social responsibility and profitability. Academy of Management Journal, 28(2), 446–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badaracco, J. L., Jr., & Webb, A. P. (1995). A view from the trenches. California Management Review, 37(2), 8–28.Google Scholar
  4. Becchetti, L., Giacoma, S. D., & Pinnacchio, D. (2005). The impact of social responsibility on productivity and efficiency of us listed companies. Paper presented at the XIII Tor Vergata Financial Conference.Google Scholar
  5. Bergstrom, T. C., & Stark, O. (1993). How altruism can prevail in an evolutionary environment. The American Economic Review, 83(2), 149–155.Google Scholar
  6. Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W, Jr., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2002). Business ethics and organizational architecture. Journal of Banking & Finance, 26(9), 1821–1835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campbell, J. L. (2007). Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. The Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 946–967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carroll, A. B. (1998). The four faces of corporate citizenship. Business and Society Review, 100(1), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and employee commitment. Business Ethics: A European Review, 16(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Creech, H., & Willard, T. (2001). Strategic intentions: Managing knowledge networks for sustainable development. Canada: International Institute for Sustainable Development Winnipeg.Google Scholar
  12. Cropanzano, R., Byrnea, Z. S., Bobocelb, D. R., & Rupp D. E. (2001). Moral virtues, fairness heuristics, social entities, and other denizens of organizational justice. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58(2), 164–209.Google Scholar
  13. Crumpler, H., & Grossman, P. J. (2008). An experimental test of warm glow giving. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5), 1011–1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cullen, J. B., Parboteeah, K. P., & Victor, B. (2003). The effects of ethical climates on organizational commitment: A two-study analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 46(2), 127–141.Google Scholar
  15. Dahlsrud, A. (2008). How corporate social responsibility is defined: An analysis of 37 definitions. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 15(1), 1–13.Google Scholar
  16. Davis, K. (1973). The case for and against business assumption of social responsibilities. Academy of Management Journal, 16(2), 312–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dawkins, J. (2005). Corporate responsibility: The communication challenge. Journal of Communication Management, 9(2), 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. De Madariaga, J. G., & Valor, C. (2007). Stakeholders management systems: Empirical insights from relationship marketing and market orientation perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 71(4), 425–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dickinson, D., & Villeval, M. C. (2004). Does monitoring decrease work effort?. The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA): The complementarity between agency and crowding-out theories.Google Scholar
  20. Donaldson, T., & Dunfee, T. W. (1994). Toward a unified conception of business ethics: Integrative social contracts theory. The Academy of Management Review, 19(2), 252–284.Google Scholar
  21. Du, S., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2010). Maximizing business returns to corporate social responsibility (CSR): The role of CSR communication. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1), 8–19.Google Scholar
  22. Fenwick, T., & Bierema, L. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: Issues for human resource development professionals. International Journal of Training and Development, 12(1), 24–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Francois, P., & Vlassopoulos, M. (2008). Pro-social motivation and the delivery of social services. CESifo Economic Studies, 54(1), 22–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frey, B. S. (2007). Does monitoring increase work effort? The rivalry with trust and loyalty. Economic Inquiry, 31(4), 663–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Friedman, M. (2007). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. Corporate Ethics and Corporate Governance, pp. 173–178.Google Scholar
  26. Frynas, J. G. (2005). The false developmental promise of Corporate Social Responsibility: Evidence from multinational oil companies. International Affairs, 81(3), 581–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1), 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Greening, D. W., & Turban, D. B. (2000). Corporate social performance as a competitive advantage in attracting a quality workforce. Business & Society, 39(3), 254–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harford, T. (2009). The logic of life: Uncovering the new economics of everything. UK: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  30. Henderson, D. (2001). The case against corporate social responsibility. Policy-St Leonards, 17(2), 28–32.Google Scholar
  31. Husted, B. W., & Allen, D. B. (2000). Is it ethical to use ethics as strategy? Journal of Business Ethics, 27(1–2), 21–31.Google Scholar
  32. James, H. S. (2000). Reinforcing ethical decision making through organizational structure. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(1), 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jansen, E., & Von Glinow, M. A. (1985). Ethical ambivalence and organizational reward systems. Academy of Management Review, 10, 814–822.Google Scholar
  34. Jones, T. M. (1980). Corporate social responsibility revisited, redefined. California Management Review, 22(3), 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kitchin, T. (2003). Corporate social responsibility: A brand explanation. The Journal of Brand Management, 10(4), 312–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kwan, W., & Tuuk, E. (2012). Corporate social responsibility: Implications for human resources and talent engagement. Cornell University Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.Google Scholar
  37. Lamberti, L., & Lettieri, E. (2009). CSR practices and corporate strategy: Evidence from a longitudinal case study. Journal of Business Ethics, 87(2), 153–168.Google Scholar
  38. Levitt, S. D., & List, J. A. (2007). What do laboratory experiments measuring social preferences reveal about the real world? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(2), 153–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2004). What should we do about motivation theory? Six recommendations for the twenty-first century. Academy of Management Review, 29(3), 388–403.Google Scholar
  40. McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective. Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117–127.Google Scholar
  41. Meehan, J., Meehan, K., & Richards, A. (2006). Corporate social responsibility: The 3C-SR model. International Journal of Social Economics, 33(5/6), 386–398.Google Scholar
  42. Miwa, Y. (1998). Corporate social responsibility: Dangerous and harmful though maybe not irrelevant. Cornell Law Review, 84, 1227.Google Scholar
  43. Nidumolu, R., Prahalad, C. K., & Rangaswami, M. R. (2009). Why sustainability is now the key driver of innovation. Harvard Business Review, 56, 1–10.Google Scholar
  44. Paquette, S., & Wiseman, E. (2006). Knowledge for sustainable development: The role of knowledge networks & organizational learning. AMCIS 2006 Proceedings. Paper 215.Google Scholar
  45. Pedersen, E. R. (2006). Making corporate social responsibility (CSR) operable: How companies translate stakeholder dialogue into practice. Business and Society Review, 111(2), 137–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Polonsky, M. J., & Jevons, C. (2006). Understanding issue complexity when building a socially responsible brand. European Business Review, 18(5), 340–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). The big idea: Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, 89(1–2), 62–77.Google Scholar
  48. Rasche, A., & Esser, D. E. (2006). From stakeholder management to stakeholder accountability. Journal of Business Ethics, 65(3), 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Redington, I. (2005). Making CSR happen: The contribution of people management. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.Google Scholar
  50. Rowley, T., & Berman, S. (2000). A brand new brand of corporate social performance. Business & Society, 39(4), 397–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rupp, D. E., Ganapathi, J., Aquilera, R. V., & Williams, C. A. (2006). Employee reactions to corporate social responsibility: An organizational justice framework. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27(4), 537–543.Google Scholar
  52. Schwartz, M. (2001). The nature of the relationship between corporate codes of ethics and behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 32(3), 247–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sharma, S., Sharma, J., & Devi, A. (2011). Corporate social responsibility: The key role of human resource management. In R. Simons (Ed.), Human resource management: Issues, challenges and opportunities. CRC Press.Google Scholar
  54. Staw, B. M. (1980). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In H. J. Leavitt, L. R. Pondy, & D. M. Boje (Eds.), Readings in managerial psychology (pp. 23–61). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  55. Teoh, H. Y., & Shiu, G. Y. (1990). Attitudes towards corporate social responsibility and perceived importance of social responsibility information characteristics in a decision context. Journal of Business Ethics, 9(1), 71–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tonin, M., & Vlassopoulos, M. (2010). Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment. Journal of Public Economics, 94(11), 1086–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Van Marrewijk, M., & Werre, M. (2003). Multiple levels of corporate sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 44(2), 107–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vilanova, M., Lozano J. M., & Arenas, D. (2009). Exploring the nature of the relationship between CSR and competitiveness. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 57–69.Google Scholar
  59. Waddock, S. A., & Graves, S. B. (1997). The corporate social performance—Financial performance link. Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wartick, S. L., & Cochran, P. L. (1985). The evolution of the corporate social performance model. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 758–769.Google Scholar
  61. Welford, R. (2005). Corporate social responsibility in Europe, North America and Asia. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 17(1), 33–52.Google Scholar
  62. Wood, D. J. (1991). Corporate social performance revisited. Academy of Management Review, 16, 691–718.Google Scholar
  63. Zollo, M. (2004). Philanthropy or CSR: A strategic choice. Paper presented at the London European Business Forum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversidad Europea de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations