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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 149, Issue 3, pp 609–625 | Cite as

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

  • Kenneth De Roeck
  • François Maon
Article

Abstract

Research on employees’ responses to corporate social responsibility (CSR) 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.

Keywords

Corporate social responsibility Employees’ attitudes and behaviors Social identity theory Social exchange theory Micro-CSR 

Abbreviations

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

OCB

Organizational citizenship behaviors

PEP

Perceived external prestige

POS

Perceived organizational support

Notes

Acknowledgments

A prior version of this manuscript has been presented during the 2015 Corporate Responsibility Research Conference (CRRC). The authors thank the participants and particularly the three co-chairs of the Micro-CSR track, namely Chelsea Willness, David Jones, and Ante Glavas, for their constructive and encouraging feedback. They also wish to thank Assâad El Akremi, Jean-Pascal Gond, and Valérie Swaen for their helpful and inspiring comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Finally, the authors greatly appreciate the insightful comments of the editorial team and of the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript, which have contributed to improve it substantially.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IESEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS UMR 9221)LilleFrance

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