Responsible Management, Incentive Systems, and Productivity

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The original article was published in the New York Times in 1971. It was republished in 2007.

  2. 2.

    For cultural, social, and political reasons, there will always be discrepancy in meaning, what it covers, how it should be applied, who should pay for it etc. (Welford 2005).

  3. 3.

    A good recent example is the News of the World tabloid newspaper in the UK and the scandal involving wire-tapping of individual’s telephones and hacking of their emails. Britain’s oldest newspaper found itself obliged to shut down in 2011 not because of any legal action by the government, but due to withdrawal of its legitimacy to operate by the British public (The Telegraph, July 19, 2011).

  4. 4.

    The legal obligations are not of interest to us here, as our aim is to demonstrate that actions above and beyond the legal requirements are the cutting edge of CSP—competitive advantage.

  5. 5.

    Hence, the growing emphasis companies place on rankings such as MERCO and Great Place to Work.

  6. 6.

    In total we spent slightly more than €500. We had hoped to contract a larger number of participants but due to time and resource constraints, it wasn’t possible.

  7. 7.

    For example, a recent study by researchers at Notre Dame University suggests that energy-efficient buildings create more productive workers. See: http://energy.nd.edu/news/29876-more-than-tree-hugging-green-companies-earn-more-green-new-study-shows/

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Correspondence to Ivan Hilliard.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Task instructions

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 The social initiatives presented to Group 2 and 3 participants

Appendix 3

Appendix 4

See Table 6.

Table 6  

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Hilliard, I. Responsible Management, Incentive Systems, and Productivity. J Bus Ethics 118, 365–377 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1570-5

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Keywords

  • Corporate Social Performance
  • Human resources
  • Motivation
  • Productivity