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Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches



This article looks at the relevance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for engaging employees, including its impact on their motivation, identity, and sense of meaning and purpose. It explores three different ways that companies engage their employees through CSR: a transactional approach, where programs are undertaken to meet the needs of employees who want to take part in the CSR efforts of a company; a relational approach, based on a psychological contract that emphasizes social responsibility; and a developmental approach, which aims to activate social responsibility in a company and to develop its employees to be responsible corporate citizens.
Employee Engagement
and CSR:
Philip Mirvis
This article looks at the relevance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for engaging employees, including its
impact on their motivation, identity, and sense of meaning and purpose. It explores three different ways that
companies engage their employees through CSR: a transactional approach, where programs are undertaken
to meet the needs of employees who want to take part in the CSR efforts of a company; a relational approach,
based on a psychological contract that emphasizes social responsibility; and a developmental approach, which
aims to activate social responsibility in a company and to develop its employees to be responsible corporate
citizens. (Keywords: Employees, Human resources management, Corporate social responsibility)
IBM has engaged its employees and retirees through its On Demand Community,
which in over one hundred and twenty countries matches them to service opportu-
nities of interest. CEO Sam Palmisano explains the companys skill-based volunteer
program thusly: No company can mandate volunteerism. The decision and self-
sacrifice comes from within the individual. What we can do is encourage and support
this distinctive aspect of our culture by providing education, technology, funding, and
recognition to tens of thousands of IBM colleagues who enrich their communities
with their expertise and caring.
To integrate CSR into, the company developed a 1-1-1model
1% of the founding stock went to the corporate foundation to help communities
in need; employees are paid to donate 1% of their time to activities that fit with the
philanthropic priorities of the company; and 1% of customer subscriptions are dona-
ted to nonprofits to increase their operating effectiveness and focus more resources
on their core mission. According to Suzanne DiBianca, head of the
Foundation, Volunteerism is a linchpin of the integrated philanthropy system
providing energy, expertise, and time to build the capabilities of nonprofits, and ensur-
ing that each employee embodies the values and social mission of the organization.
In the past decade, Unilever employees have been engaged en masse to make over the
business. On the food side, twenty thousand recipes have been reformulated to reduce
trans fat, saturated fats, sugar, and salts. Base-of-the-pyramid investments in home
and personal care products have expanded dramatically and many of the company
brands (e.g., Dove, Omo) have been linked to social causes. This changes the para-
digm of thinking that we are selling to consumers,said one employee. Instead we
are serving our communities.In late 2010, Unilever unveiled its Sustainable Living
Plan whereby it intends to improve the health of 1 billion people, buy 100% of its agri-
cultural raw materials from sustainable sources, and reduce the environmental impact
of everything it sells by one-half, while doubling its revenues. To achieve these aims,
the company will have to reach out to its consumers and activate them. For instance,
to reduce energy use associated with its soaps by half, consumers would have to cut
their shower time by one minute. Accordingly, Unilever announced a Turn off the
tapcampaign for the United States.
As these vignettes illustrate, CSR is being used today as a toolto
recruit, retain, and engage employees. Why? Increasing numbers
of young people in the U.S. (and worldwide) aspire for something
morefrom a job. Surveys by Cone Inc. find that three out of four
of the Millennial Generation (born 1978-1998) want to work for a company that
cares about how it impacts and contributes to society.Cone also finds that
among those already in the workforce, nearly seven in ten say that they are aware
of their employers commitment to social/environmental causes and 65 percent
say that their employers social/environmental activities make them feel loyal to
their company.
Companies are doing many different things
to engage their employees through CSR. There
has, for example, been an increase in traditional
forms of corporate volunteerismsupporting emp-
loyees who mentor schoolchildren; care for the homeless, elderly, or disadvantaged;
participate in disaster relief; build community playgrounds or habitat-for-humanity
housing; and so onalong with more skill-basedengagement efforts wherein emp-
loyees use their technical and commercial know-how to address social concerns.
the operational front, more employees today are engaged in sustainable supply chain
management, cause-related marketing, and green business initiativesin effect,
doing social responsibility on-the-job. Meanwhile, leading firms have launched
global service programs where employees travel to emerging markets and work
hand-in-hand with local management in small businesses or social enterprises to
transfer their business acumen and help to address economic, social, and environ-
mental challenges.
CSR and Employee Engagement Models
There are good reasons for companies to more fully engage their employ-
ees, ranging from simple decency to competitive advantages in recruiting and
retention to more effective human resource management. On the financial front,
studies demonstrate a strong relationship between employee engagement and
a companys stock price, income growth, and overall financial performance.
Philip Mirvis is an organizational
psychologist and senior research fellow,
Global Network on Corporate Citizenship.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
the CSR side, too, there is compelling though not uncontested evidence that
stronger performance in the social, environmental, and governance arenas yields
reputation gains for firms and is associated with stronger financial results.
addition, there are many companies, large and small, that are committed to good
employee relations and social responsibility because of their heritage, national ori-
gins, corporate culture, and managers moral sensibilitiesfactors that make
engaging employees through CSR a more normative than material consideration.
Several studies aimed directly on the linkage between CSR and employee
engagement have found a strong correlation between employees commitment
to their organization and how they rate its social responsibility.
For example, a
survey by Sirota Survey Intelligence, of 1.6 million employees in seventy compa-
nies, found that employees who approved of their companys commitments to
social responsibility, compared to those who did not approve, were far more
engaged on their jobs and more apt to believe that their employers were inter-
ested in their well-being. They also had more favorable perceptions of their man-
agements integrity and rated their companies as more competitive, too.
Using CSR to Engage Employees
There is today a daunting employee engagement gapin business. A 2007
Towers Perrin survey of 90,000 employees in 18 countries found that only 21 percent
reported being fully engaged on the job. The rest were either simply enrolled (41%),
disenchanted (30%), or disconnected (8%).
In turn, the Gallup Employee Engage-
ment Index reported that, on average as of 2010, some 33 percent of employees were
engaged by their companies, 49 percent were not engaged, and 18 percent were
actively disengaged.
Can CSR help to redress this gap?
Firms link CSR to employee engagement in three ways. First, many strive
to be a responsible employer. On this count, it is well documented that how
employees are treated is the litmus test of CSR for a company. In GolinHarris sur-
veys in each of the past six years, for example, the perception of whether or not a
company values and treats employees fairly and wellhas been the number one
factor in ratings of a companys citizenship, more so than its philanthropy, com-
munity involvement, environmental performance, and other CSR factors.
report phrased the message succinctly: CSR minus HR = PR.
Second, companies create a portfolio of programs and develop a reputation
that, to varying degrees, demonstrate their commitment to CSR. Here the Reputa-
tion Institute finds that, on average, 75 to 80 percent of those polled in over
twenty-five countries would prefer to work for a company that is known for its
social responsibility.
Third, companies engage employees directly in voluntary and on-the-job
CSR-related activities. The polling firm GlobeScan reports that nine out of ten
employees worldwide are interested in participating in the CSR initiatives of their
Increasing numbers of firms are using CSR to enable employees to
actually do something moreon their jobs and, in select cases, to produce value
for both the business and society.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
Models of Engagement
As the vignettes beginning this article suggest, however, companies are
taking different approaches to engaging their employees through CSR. This article
explores three different ways that companies design and manage their efforts:
§atransactional approach, where programs are undertaken to meet the needs
and interests of those employees who want to take part in the socially
responsible efforts of a company;
§arelational approach, where an organization and its employees together
make a commitment to social responsibility; and
§adevelopmental approach, where a company aims to more fully activate and
develop its employees and the firm to produce greater value for business
and society.
Each of these models is grounded in a psychological contractbetween a firm
and its employees.
With reference to the first two contracts, Denise Rousseau
draws a distinction between the transactional versus relational type.
The former
emphasizes market forces impinging on employment and makes it a short-term
arrangement wherein each party operates out of its own interests. The latter stresses
the communal aspects of employment and makes engagement more a matter of
mutual trust and shared interests. A third frame to the employment relationship
emphasizes its developmental dimensions. Mirvis and Hall, for instance, describe a
boundaryless career path that stresses peoplesemployabilitythrough continuous
adaptation and learning over the life course. While this puts the onus on employees
to continue to develop their knowledge and talents, it is incumbent on the boundary-
less firm to promote employeesdevelopment and to deploy their time and talents in
response to changing business circumstances.
Increasingly this extends into CSR
and sustainability where, as Peter Senge and colleagues stress, companies depend
on individual and collective learning to adapt to new challenges.
How do these frames apply to the ways that companies engage their
employees through CSR? To preview, in the transactional model what is impor-
tant to the company is to recruit and retain talentand CSR programs are akin
to an employee benefita part of whats on offerin the companys incentive
package. By contrast, the relational model treats CSR as central to the identity
of both the company and its employeesyielding, say, a socially responsible com-
pany staffed by value-driven people. The developmental model considers CSR not
only as a joint obligation, but as a joint opportunityit helps to connect the dots
between employee, employer, and society. On the company side, this shifts the
conversation from what can CSR do for our employees?to what can our
employees do to make us (and themselves) better corporate citizens?Exhibit 1
highlights how these three frames apply to the link between employee engage-
ment and CSR.
In each of these three models, firms can aim to do goodfor society and to
do wellin terms of employee commitment, reputational benefits, and long-term
financial returns. A closer look at the strategic intent and positioning of each these
three engagement models, and at the assumptions about employee motivation
behind and potential benefits afforded by them, highlight their strengths and
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
limitations in delivering on these aims. Consider, first, how companies in each
model conceive of the connection between CSR and employee engagement.
The Company Perspective
It is indisputable that companies are facing more demands from the public
and other stakeholders to be socially responsible.
In turn, surveys show that CEOs
understand the import of these expectations and recognize a need for their business
to play a more engaged and responsible role in society.
Countless books, reports,
and conferences testify to progress: companies moving beyond traditional defini-
tions of a good company to seriously tackle social-and-environmental issues and
to address them through their products, services, and CSR-related investments.
How then are they approaching employee engagement?
Transactional Model = HR Management
A recent article by C. B. Bhattacharya and colleagues on Using Corporate
Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talentsets out the main parameters of
the transactional model for engaging employees via CSR:
We consider internal marketingto be the most apt rubric under which CSR can be
used to acquire and retain employees. Such a perspective holds that just as companies
succeed by fulfilling the needs of their customers, they can manage their employees
EXHIBIT 1. Three Models of Employee Engagement through CSR
Engagement Model
Transactional Relational Developmental
Company Perspective
Strategic Intent HR Management Socially Responsible
Intended Impact Improved Recruiting/
+Enhanced Impact on
Business & Society
Positioning Employee Benefit Joint Obligation Joint Opportunity
Participants Employee Segments All Company Full Corporate Ecosystem
Employee Perspective
Personal Motivation to
NeedWhat I want
from my job
IdentityWho I am
Whole Person
PurposeWho I wish
to be
Benefits of Engagement Self-Satisfaction +Self-Expression +Self-Development
Personal Involvement Individual Service Collective Service Service+Learning
Key Considerations
Downside Risks Substitutable”“Total Community”“ChallengingEmployees
Strategic Space Modest Market for Virtue;
Good Enough Value
Strong Market for Virtue;
Compete via Cohesion
and Differentiation
Strong Market for Virtue;
Compete with CSR
Stage of CSR Engaged Integrated Transformative
Serving Society Reactive Proactive Leading
View on People homo economicus homo reciprocans homo communicans
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
best by viewing them as internal customers, fulfilling their needs through a compel-
ling menu of job-productswhose features include salary, benefits packages and job
responsibilities. Designed properly, the job-products can contribute dramatically to
job satisfaction, employee retention and productivity. A key task for managers, then,
is to incorporate CSR into job products that are tailored to the often diverse needs of
This packaging seems to work: results from their longitudinal study of a
consumer-goods company found that employee engagement in CSR led to pride
in the company, which in turn was positively related to employee performance
and negatively to intention to quit . . . (and) positively related to customer focus
and pro-company citizenship behaviors. . . .The researchers went on to remark
that CSR humanizes the company in ways that other facets of the job cannot,
adding, a paycheck may keep a person on the job physically, but it alone will
not keep a person on the job emotionally.
The advantage of this internal marketing approach to employee engagement
is that it enables a company to tailor and pitch its CSR initiatives to the most receptive
employee segments. This, in theory, yields a good fitbetween an employeesinter-
ests and his or her organization that researchers know translates into job satisfaction,
higher levels of commitment, and less inclination to turnover.
Already cafeteria-
style benefit programs feature family-friendly programs that appeal to one segment
of employees, so why not volunteer options that might match the interests of
another? This allows companies to customize CSR options for different segments of
employees, including giving them the option of not being involved at all.
On-Demand CSR
Deloittes annual Volunteer Impact Survey found in 2010 that nearly two-
thirds of corporate managers polled say their companies offer traditional, hands
onvolunteer opportunities where employees self-select the issue, and nearly
three-fourths say that they offer volunteerism where projects address their compa-
niesphilanthropic focus areas.
IBM was one of the first companies to take this
model of individualized CSRto scale through its computerized On Demand Com-
munity and adoption of skill-based volunteeringa growing trend documented in
Deloittes studies of corporate volunteering. The message to employees is straight-
forward: Contribute not only with your hands and heart, but also with your business
know-how and the tools and resources of the company. As Stanley Litow, head of
Corporate Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at IBM, describes it: Now when people
volunteer for a soup kitchen, theyre not just ladling soup, theyre developing a stra-
tegic plan for the kitchen. When they work for a Lighthouse for the Blind, they are
bringing them a software tool that can convert their Web site from text to voice.
Limitations of the Individualized Model
Moving beyond volunteerism, there are limitations to the individualized
approach to engaging employees through CSR. First, it can turn a companys rela-
tionship with society into a fragmented series of initiatives and programseach a
potential job productfor employees but without a sense of how they hang
together and what a firm is trying to accomplish overall. This can detract from
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
a companys social and environmental performance; and a potpourri of social
actions cannot yield as much benefit to retention, reputation, and the like as a
more focused, aligned, and strategic agenda.
Second, absent a broader strategic intent, choices about where and how to
invest employees in society can center on image-burnishing and turn volunteer-
ism into a public relations campaign. This is why Bhattacharya and colleagues rec-
ommend that employees help to shape their firms CSR engagement program and
that it is undertaken in the spirit of service rather than PR.
Relational Model = A Socially Responsible Culture
To the extent that the transactional model targets CSR at me”—the individ-
ual employeethe relational models shifts the focus to we”—the collective
employee community. In its simplest form, this is manifest by engaging employees
in all staffvolunteer days, in company-wide recycling programs, or in on-boarding
processes at companies like where new hires are thrust into commu-
nity services activities as part of their orientation program. At deeper levels, it has a
company articulate, and employees embrace, a shared vision, mission, and values
that stress CSR.
The LS&Co. Way
Levi Strauss & Co. has exemplified a values-led business since its founder
first set up his dry goods firm in San Francisco in 1853. A business downturn in
the late 1990s, however, called its commitments to profits through principles
into question. Having noted that the companys brands used value propositions
to define their qualities and character for consumers, Theresa Fay-Bustillos, then
vice president of worldwide community affairs, worked with the companys
worldwide leadership team to develop a value proposition for corporate citizen-
ship (their term of reference for CSR). She convened a cross-functional, multilevel
working group around corporate citizenship, which included some top execs, to
take account of the companys 150-year legacy of corporate citizenship; to listen
to employees, executives, and stakeholders; and to identify current and potential
future societal issues facing the apparel and textile industry and its workforce.
Out of their work, a corporate citizenship value proposition (CVP) emerged.
Key elements address were: Business Practices That Reflect the Diversity of the
World We Serve; Supply Chain Practices That Respect the Workers Who Make
Our Products; Environmental Initiatives That Support Sustainability; Societal
Engagement That Contributes to Positive Social Change; and HIV/AIDS Initiatives
That Protect Employees, Workers, and Consumers. Under each of these elements,
the company included detailed outcomes that, over time, it aspires to achieve. The
worldwide leadership team pledged to educate employees on the new value propo-
sition, incorporate it into the strategic business planning process, and hold them-
selves accountable for making progress going forward.
As of this writing, the Levi Strauss & Co. is back on its feet commercially
and has rolled out the CVP to employees worldwide as part of an organizational
development program entitled The LS&CO. Way and You.On overall progress,
Robert Hanson, president of companys North America region, says, Were getting
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
there. . . . Just as in the marketplace, we also need to innovate with citizenship if
we want to remain relevant with our stakeholders. This is why were working to
deeply integrate citizenship into our business at every level in our organization.
When Relationships Go Bad
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, in her studies of CSR leaders finds, Vanguard compa-
nies go beyond the lists of values posted on walls and websites by using their codified
set of values and principles as a strategic guidance system.
The strength of the rela-
tional model to employee engagement is that it provides an integrated platform of
CSR initiatives and programs through which to engage employees and embed social
responsibility into the company culture or DNA. However, one fatal flaw in this
model is that not all companies practice what they preach. On this count, it is notable
that Enron was named a top employer and corporate citizen of the yearin 2000,
before its ethical and financial collapse. Moreover, the financial houses whose fina-
gling precipitated the economic crisis in 2008 all had an impressive battery of CSR
programs aimed at their employees (and the community). It is as if in pitching CSR
to employees, these companies seemed to think that they could divorce their good
worksfrom the bad deedsof their mainline business.
Other problems can arise when managers and employees in relational cul-
tures become so complacent with the CSR ethic in their company that they fail to
anticipate or come to grips with new or changing circumstances. For example,
companies as disparate as Nike, Shell, and Home Depot all had agreeable CSR
culturesbuilt on traditions of compliance, philanthropy, and volunteerism
which were then undermined by social/environmental problems erupting in their
supply chains and raw material sourcing. In each case, the firms undertook a com-
plete makeover of their CSR strategy and internal culture by engaging employees
with the issues at hand.
Developmental Model = Socio-Commercial Innovation
The developmental model enlarges the scope of engagement through CSR
furtherfrom me to we to all of us”—engaging a company, its employees, and
often stakeholders in the corporate ecosystem. Unilevers sustainable living plan,
Nestlés moves toward shared value in its supply chain and product offerings,
and Wal-Marts Sustainability 360 strategyDoing Good, Better, Together (which
has launched eco-innovations from fourteen sustainability networks of employees
and engaged store managers and consumer groups on ethical consumerism, fair
trade, and cause marketing)all exemplify a transformative form of engagement
hinging on employee development. This moves the CSR thrust of a company
firmly into the commercial space and gets employees interacting with stakehold-
ers to enhance its impact on the business and society.
Meanwhile, grassroots employee green teamsat Lockheed Martin have
improved energy efficiency at company sites; at Citigroup, theyve reduced paper
waste; and at Kimberly Clark, theyve partnered with local hardware stores to
increase employees use of compact fluorescent bulbs in their homes.
has motivated 600,000 of its employees to develop Personal Sustainability Projects
(PSPs) that has them eating healthier foods, exercising more, and recycling. In
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
some cases employees family members develop their own PSPs. To date, fifteen
thousand associates have stopped smoking and Wal-Mart has implemented many
eco-friendly innovations prototyped by employees in their homes to cut waste in
its stores.
Getting Everybody into CSR
To illustrate this transformation across the corporate ecosystem, take the
case of Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland, who got his feet wet in CSR in the early
1990s when he linked his companys brand with City Year by donating fifty pairs of
work boots for its young adults working with youth in after-school programs,
summer camps, and service projects. City Year, a community-based nonprofit,
recruits young adults (aged seventeen to twenty-four) who pledge themselves to
a year-long commitment of community service in a selected city or community.
Its aims are not only to provide service to communities, but also to develop young
peoples leadership skills and civic activism. Swartz saw these same benefits accrue
to his company and to his employees when he formed the Timberland-City Year
partnership some years later.
As employees followed their personal path to service,40 hours paid time
given to community service with City Year, Swartz decided to reach fartherwith
the brand, employees, and CSR. Timberland took its boots, brand, and beliefs
directly into the market and called its consumers to social action. Timberland,
together with City Year, today activates ten thousand consumers and retail partners
in over twenty-five countries in annual service daysone each spring on Earth Day
and one each fall entitled Serv-a-palooza.Its CSR scorecard details annual
increases in employee volunteerism and consumersinvolvement in service.
This engagement strategy serves the community, employees, and Timber-
lands aims. A company executive explained, Many companies pay thousands
of dollars for the type of team-building skills we learn through giving ourselves,
together. So not only is Timberland furthering positive change and community
betterment, we are making an investment in our infrastructure. This is not philan-
thropy. I firmly believe that the minds we turn here at Timberland explode our
productivity and effectiveness.Of course, employees are also engaged in CSR
in the business as Timberland is greening its products by eco-innovations in sourc-
ing, sewing, and construction and the use of an ingredientslabel that lets con-
sumers know whats in their boots.
Developmental Model Challenges
Still, the developmental model also has potential downsides. At Timber-
land, for instance, volunteering and community service programs have in the past
two years shifted almost exclusively toward greening.While this is consistent
with the strategic thrust of CSR at Timberland, and laudable in its own right,
the companys historic partnership with City Year and its commitments to citizen
democracyrecede into the background. This shift in strategic directionfrom
promoting social justice to advancing environmental sustainabilityhas led to
some push backfrom employees that the companys CSR engagement program
is no longer progressive.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
A key consideration here concerns who ownsthe CSR agenda in a com-
pany. In, employees define (more or less) the firms CSR portfolio
and run the volunteer and community-giving program. They are also free to give
1% of their time to a volunteer activity of their own choosing. (As Ms. DiBianca
reports, its not mandateering!) Timberland has devised a hybrid: employees
choose how to use their 40 paid hours of service, but the boot maker sets the
direction for annual service days.
Motivation and Benefits: The Employee Perspective
The great majority of employees report that they want to be engaged in the
CSR activities of their employers. Moreover this interest is by no means limited
to the U.S. or developed economies with their comparatively prosperous and
well-educated workforces. On the contrary, while studies find social responsibility
to be a significant motivational driver to employees in the U.S., it is even more
important in India, South Africa, and China.
This raises questions about the
assumptions about employeesinterests and motivations behind the three CSR
engagement models.
Transactional Model = Satisfying Needs
Many of todays employee engagement efforts are premised on the notion
(à la Abraham Maslow) that people operate through a hierarchy of needs that
motivate themstretching from basic needs for survival and security, to social
needs, to higher orderneeds that when satisfied yield self-esteem and self-
In the 1970s and 1980s, when baby-boomers entered the workforce, HR
responded with job enrichment and employee involvement programs. These pre-
scriptions seemed to fit the needs of better-educated and comparatively well-off
new breedworkers, as they were called, for more interesting work and a voice
in job-related decisions.
These proved to be strong contributors to psychological
and behavioral engagement. HR is today positioning CSR in the same fashion: it
fits the ego needs of many of todays well-educated, more socially conscious mil-
lennials (who have, so the argument goes, been reared in an era of relative pros-
perity and schooled to be sensitive to societys ills and planetary perils).
When it comes to employee motivation, however, it is arguable whether or
not a generic satisfaction = engagement frame is useful for thinking about how
CSR influences employees. Rather, the question turns to how CSR can enlist, acti-
vate, and empower employees on the job.
Adam Grant, for example, makes a
strong case for relational job designbecause it enables people to express their
prosocial motives through work that makes a positive differencein other peo-
ples life.
Several field studies connect this specifically to CSR by documenting
how engaging employees in community service gave them an opportunity to sup-
port others, which, in turn, strengthened their organizational commitment. In a
felicitous turn of the phrase, Grant, Dutton, and Russo make the point that linking
CSR to engagement is about employees givingrather than receiving.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
Customizing CSR for Individual Employees
In keeping with the need-basedmodel, many consulting firms recom-
mend that firms customizetheir CSR offerings for employees. In the HR man-
agement frame, this has firms routinely monitor employee satisfaction at each
level of the need hierarchy and, where warranted and feasible, adjust the mix
of company incentives and programs available to boost employee satisfaction.
A key problem with this kind of assessment is that studies have shown that
Maslows theory, insightful as it is, doesnt apply mechanically to people in their
everyday work lives and circumstances. Research demonstrates that nearly every-
one has some motivations concerning their material provision, social relations,
and self-expression and growthno matter their current socio-economic status.
Thus so-called higher order needs dontgo awayeven when financial concerns
predominate. Furthermore, prosocial motivesthe desire to reach out and help
othersare found among people of all ages, classes, and colors.
This makes it
difficult to target CSR-minded employee segments and tailor initiatives to needs.
In testing the importance of employees personal interests in CSR, Ante
Glavas found strong correlations between peoples views of CSR practices in their
company and their engagement at work.
Interestingly, these positive relation-
ships endured when he controlled for individual differences in gender, race, posi-
tion, and the like and proved to be significant irrespective of employees professed
interests in CSR. The upshot: CSR seems to appeal to employees, including those
who say that they are not interested in it.
A larger concern with the transactional approach is that it treats employee
engagement as a utilitarian arrangement wherein service to others is presumed to
address the self-interest of employees. In practical terms, this would have a com-
pany routinely calculate the cost/benefits of its portfolio of employee-related CSR
initiatives even as the participants calibrate whats in it for me?One risk in this
approach is that when times turn tough each side rationally invests less in their
relationship and less in their respective commitments to society. Another risk is
that once profitable times return, companies will not necessarily buyemployees
extra effort or loyalty through CSR in this frame. After all, incentives are substi-
tutableand employee needs for service can also be met off-the-job or through
another employer.
Relational Model = Expressing Identity
To say people need something from their work emphasizes their individu-
alistic and atomistic nature. A relational perspective, by comparison, stresses their
social and connected self.In this frame, the self is a wholethat encompasses
and integrates peoples identities in various rolesas, say, employee, co-worker,
parent, community member, and the like.
The relevance of this idea for employee engagement took shape decades
ago when it was posited that people think of themselves and embody identity in
the workplace in the form of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age,
and in their life roles (as, for instance, caregivers and providers). These forms of
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
identity have been the subject of debate, consciousness raising, and policy making
throughout societies and within companies as well. In top firms today, for exam-
ple, employee diversity is valued not only as an HR driver, but as a source of fresh
ideas, as a means of mirroring and better serving the multicultural marketplace,
and as a source of learning and effectiveness (as David Thomas and Robin Ely
point out in their analysis of the changing contours of diversity management in
corporations). A parallel argument for working parents has been made by Victoria
Parker and Douglas T. Hall concerning the benefits of flexible work arrangements
and other work-family programs.
Building on this logic, a next-stage in identity engagement has companies
linking HR and CSR to engage their employee as citizens.
This naturally
means recognizing and respecting employees in their many dimensions of self-
identityrace, gender, age, and so onand in their multiple work roles to be
sure, but also as working parents and members of a community. It also means rec-
ognizing and validating them in relation to their roles as citizens of a society and
inhabitants of the planet.
Expressing Identity at Work
The electronics retailer Best Buy exemplifies the relational aspects of
employee engagement. Individual employees, for example, are engaged through
the companysstrength basedHR model that encourages job involvement and
development around their personal strengths and passions. On the work-life
boundary, many employees are part of a results only work environment(ROWE)
that allows them to flexibly manage their work and personal time, so long as results
are achieved. The company also hosts a womens leadership forum(WOLF) that
engages female managers, employees, and customers in Wolf Packs that provide
leadership counsel and social support. Going further on identity engagement, Best
Buy also supports affinity groups revolving around race (Black Employees Net-
work, Asian Employees Network, Latin Employees Network), age (Teenage
Employees and SaGEThe wisdom of experience), sexual orientation (PRIDE),
faith, military service, and personal abilities/disabilities (INCLUDE).
Best Buy is today expanding its engagement program to focus employee
energy and entrepreneurism on society through a venture citizenshipprogram.
For example, store employees, rather than professional staff, run the companys
community grant program and decide which nonprofits to support. In turn, they
work with students in the @15 program to teach them how to run their own vol-
unteer programs. The companys Geek Squad donates its time and talents to sup-
porting community-based groups. On their jobs, employees take part in the
companys program to recycle used electronics, whether purchased at Best Buy
or not, and share ideas on greening their operations through Blue Shirt Nation,
employeessocial media conversation.
Engaging the Whole Person
Why would a company concern itself with and seek to activate peoples iden-
tities as citizens of a corporation, community, society, and planet? One reason is that
when employees find that their company welcomes the full range of their interests
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
and aspirations, including for instance a personal desire to serve society and/or
protect the planet, they feel welcome to bring their whole selfinto the workplace.
In a relational context, CSR initiates a conversation between individual and corpo-
rate identity that shapes a companys culture and also its employees. Employees
whose aspirations to live and work responsibly are fulfilled through their companies
thereby serve as effective brand ambassadors for their firms through their word-
of-mouth commentary. They also produce social capitala web of positive relevant
relationshipsthat connects their companies to other stakeholders and the public
at large.
While relational engagement may sound idyllic, critics point to its down-
sides: corporate manipulation, invasions into employees private lives, and the
potential to create a total communitywherein loyalty to and actions supported
by the corporation supersede other employee commitments and opportunities.
These are familiar critiques in critical management studies and well-documented
in select cases wherein companies operate like a cult. However, even absent coer-
cion, Howard Schwartz argues that caring companies can represent a kind of
organizational idealfor employees, analogous to the ego ideal in the theories
of Freudian psychology.
Here he contends that the organization serves as a
reflecting pool for its members, showing them their good featuresand allowing
them to revel in a narcissistic state. In this way, individual and organizational
identity are fused and organizational success becomes a projectthat promises
a return to narcissism. Young people are especially susceptible to this deep level
of narcissistic engagement and are ripe for a fall into cynicism when the psycho-
logical contract with their employer is ruptured.
Concerns also turn to the societal consequences of engaging the full self in
this way. A personal worry is that as employees invest more into their companies,
they may choose to invest less in the world around them. Why worry about pre-
school education in your community when your company provides for your
childrens care? Why go to church when your company hosts spiritual retreats?
And, to extend this to the societal sphere, why worry further about social and
environmental conditions when your contribution through your socially respon-
sible company is good enough?
Developmental Model = Realizing Purpose
Ironically, it was Maslow who laid the foundation for a deeper level of psy-
chological engagement by employees in his depiction of peoplesBeing Values,
which include, among other themes, fundamental human preferences for truth,
goodness, beauty, wholeness, and justice.
This marked his embrace of humanis-
tic psychology with its emphasis on human potential and the importance to peo-
ple of discovering their fundamental purpose in life.
Could this mean that
engagement through CSR might help people address not only Who am I?but
also the larger existential and developmental questions of Why am I?
The ideas that work organizations could serve such a liberating and genera-
tive purpose for employees were variously expressed in the 1960s and 1970s by
Douglas McGregor in depictions of Theory X and Y management models, in the
practices of group and organization development during that era, and in employee
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
engagement efforts that drew from the theories of Erich Fromm to show how com-
panies might promote an ethic of beingas opposed to an ethic of havingamong
their employees.
Needless to say, the human potential movement was downplayed in cor-
porate practices of employee engagement in the 1980s and 1990s that stressed
the more material aspects of organizational involvement.
However, interest in
human potential is being resurrected today in many complementary ways. Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi, as one example, depicts humans as having an evolving self
whose growth hinges on attaining fuller consciousness of their inner nature and
of the world that surrounds them. In developmental terms, this posits that human
potential expands as people gain a deeper sense of their individual uniqueness
and connect it to the processes at work in the world. In so doing, Csikszentmihalyi
contends, one needs to step out of the cocoon of personal goals and confront
larger issues in the public arena.
Contemporary interest in spirituality and its expression in the workplace,
in positive psychology and its link to compassionate capitalism, and in engaging
the self-as-citizen through work are all manifestations of a potentially richer ver-
sion of employee engagement that provides people with a deeper sense of purpose
and meaning.
Engagement for Consciousness Raising
The author had the opportunity to experience this developmental form of
engagement from 2002 to 2006 working with Unilever Asia. A starting point
was to connect senior leaders of seventeen national companies in the Asia Pacific
regionwhich had previously operated independentlyand to include the next
layers of country marketers, supply chain managers, and corporate staff in setting
strategy and reviewing performance for the whole of the regional business. In
turn, a cross-national forum was created to expose the next generation leaders
to the ideas of western thinkers such as Maslow, Fromm, and Frankl and to have
them share the tenets of Buddhism and eastern philosophy. The young leaders
also engaged in community service projects. Behind this was a desire to build
the capacity of the entire Asian leadership body to think, feel, and work together,
that is, to operate as a community of leaders.
Where CSR comes in is that the Asian leaders created deeper bonds among
themselves and with communities throughout Asia via a series of annual learn-
ing journeys.They traveled to locales of historic and cultural relevance; hiked
through mountains and deserts; met with school children, indigenous peoples,
everyday consumers, and the poor; learned from leaders in business, government,
and community organizations; and talked deeply with one another about their
personal and business lives.
The young leaders joined with over two hundred senior leaders in mind-
expanding and heart-stirring journeys to Borneo, China, India, Sri Lanka, and
Vietnam, where they learned about and reflected on social, environmental, and
economic conditions in their region and engaged in community service. This deep
engagement with society touched many of Unilevers Asian leaders personally. Said
one: The communities we visited reminded me of an itchthat has been bugging me
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
for the longest time, that is, to give my time and effort to a cause which is beyond
myself (and even beyond my family). I have been blessed so much in this life that
the least I can do is to help my fellow men. I need to act now.
It was also a source of inspiration for community-based business initiatives
and a testing ground for new product and market development ideas under the com-
panys base-of-the-pyramid business strategy and CSR-relevant brands. Connecting
with poverty reminds us that our company, as a member in Asia, has strong social
responsibilities, said one employee. We need to build our business success while
taking on social responsibilities to help to protect the environment, to relieve pov-
erty . . . at the same time these actions will help our business grow.
Empowered Employees
Corporate commitments to CSR can raise challenging questions from
socially and environmentally conscious employees: Is the operation really green?
Are materials or supplies being sourced ethically and sustainably? Are the prod-
ucts produced and services provided harmful, neutral, or helpful to the planet?
Engaging employees as citizens empowers them to ask and to obtain affirmative
answers to these questions about their companies. Not finding them inside their
firm, they may also be empowered to look elsewhere.
Suppose, for example, that you are paid and treated well by your employer
but other staff are underpaid and treated badly? In a transactional psychological con-
tract, this might work for engaging talented staff while disengaging others. As a rela-
tional practice, however, this violates the psychological contract between employees
and a socially responsible employer. Or suppose that your job features social or envi-
ronmental significance but your company is charged with sex discrimination or
found to be a polluter? There is good reason to believe that the cynicism will be more
extreme among employees who believe that this undermines their goodworks.
Job content is another element to consider through a widened CSR lens.
Many studies have shown that when employees have interesting work and can
participate in job-related decisions, they feel more engaged in their work roles
and feel better about themselves as a person.
Hence, job designers recommend
building autonomy, personal responsibility, and challenge into jobs to engage
employees. These make people feel that they are using their talents and abilities
on the job. From a transformative CSR vantage, it is also relevant to ask whether
or not people feel that they are doing something useful on the job. This opens up
questions of the social significance and contribution of ones job, and whether or
not what ones company makes or offers as service is truly useful for society.
While such questions from employees can be challenging, they can also be
a source of further innovation. As an example, many employees are part of their
companys diversity councils, work-family forums, or minority, women, or LGBT
groups where they can share common interests and advocate for their concerns
in-house. Innovators in these affinity groups have extended their reach into soci-
ety by establishing supplier diversity groups, by forming a coalition of businesses,
Corporate Voices for Working Families, to promote work-family integration
nationally and globally, and by influencing public policy decisions taken by their
firms on, for example, LGBT rights at work and in society.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
Considerations in Choosing an Engagement Model
Employees engaged through CSR can produce social and business value
through their volunteer service and through their jobs, relationships, products,
and services. However, in the decision to launch or invest more in these activities,
and in their design and delivery, it behooves companies to think about what they
are doing and why. What are the key considerations?
As a base case, it makes sense to first ensure that the workplace and organiza-
tion conform to CSR standards. Nowadays, well-managed firms recognize that HR
issues are also CSR issues and that they are being held to account for responsible
employment practices.
Corporate social audits and reports increasingly address
matters of workforce composition and workplace practices. This means that unfair
treatment and unsafe or unhealthy working conditions, even when lawful, are
reviewed internally and disclosed to the public. A case can also be made that job
stress, work hours, rates of pay, health care and pension benefits, and even job satis-
faction are also CSR issues.
As for transparency and accountability on these matters,
the Dutch bank ABN Amro publishes results of its employee surveys in its annual
social report. Microsoft has begun to do the same with its annual Citizenship Report.
Furthermore, companies are well advised today to develop and maintain
a social and environmental profile that goes beyond compliance. Lynne Sharpe
Paine, among others, points out that moving toward an integrityculture makes
ethical behavior everybodys responsibility and builds stronger relationships between
a company, its employees, and other stakeholders.
Increasingly, companies are
publishing annual reports about their social and environmental performance. Many
HR leaders say that these reports are scrutinized by their recruits and a subject of
conversation during interviews. Beyond the appeal to employees, estimates are that
a strong CSR reputation can add, on average, 10% to a companys market value.
is, in todays context, a proxy indicator that a firm is well-managed.
Strategic Fit and the Business Case
A key question for companies is which model of directly engaging employ-
ees through CSR best fits with its strategy and yields the most cost beneficial return.
On this point, scholars have noted that the market for virtuevaries across firms
and industries as well as employment markets.
Arguably, the absence of market
demand and perceived rewards accounts for the fact that some companies pay scant
attention to engaging their employees through CSR. That said, employee volunteer-
ism in the U.S. has historic roots. Recognition that many more employees today
want to be engaged in the CSR efforts of their companies is a key driver in the
increased emphasis given to volunteerism and its expansion to global operations.
The transactional model of engagement seems to work well enough in meeting
employees needs and aids in recruiting and retention. Shifting it toward skills-
basedvolunteering and to brand-relevantservice options further advances a
firms strategic interests and can be a rallying point for employees.
The transactional model also seems apt for companies that have a highly
differentiated culture where individual contributors or local working units are
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
best positioned to do their own thing with regard to volunteerism and to effecting
social- and eco-innovations in their local markets. Finally, this model, because of
its preponderance among companies, is likely sufficient for firms that are not com-
peting on the basis of their social and environmental performance. Beware, how-
ever, of new entrants and competitors that differentiate themselves by offering a
more appealing CSR-related value proposition to employees.
The relational model of engagement seems more relevant in companies
where CSR-seeking workers are employed and in demand, in labor markets
where a war for talentis underway, and in industries where employee loyalty
is one source of competitive advantage. Geography also matters. Throughout Asia,
for example, there is a nascent tradition of company sponsoredvolunteerism
where employees often contribute en masse to local communitieswearing the
corporate uniform and carrying the company bannerin keeping with their col-
lectivist corporate cultures. The relational model also fits in companies whose
ethos, internally and externally, is infused with CSR.
To express its core purpose, for example, the Danish pharmaceutical Novo
Nordisk formulated its Novo Nordisk Way of Management (NNWoM) that covers
corporate values, principles of management, and key commitments, including
pledges that its products and services make a significant difference in improving
the way people live and workand that its activities, practices, and deliverables
are perceived to be economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially fair.
The companys leadership in responsible healthcare has taken the form of
affordable medicines in developing countries and among the poor in developed
nations, creation of the World Diabetes Foundation, and a changing diabetes
campaign in conjunction with the United Nations. Whats of interest here is
how its employees are engaged in fulfilling triple bottom line commitments. Every
employee, for example, is expected to spend at least one day a year with someone
connected to diabetesa patient, a caretaker, or a healthcare professionaland
then to suggest improvements for how the company does business. To ensure per-
formance to the highest standards, employees are involved in documenting and
improving the companys triple bottom line performance. A group of thirty to
forty non-executive facilitators,drawn from employee ranks, meets with every
work unit and every employee, over a three-year cycle, to ensure that actions and
decisions live up to the promise of the NNWoM.
Finally, it seems apparent that a more developmental model of engage-
ment is relevant in industries where human capital is mobile and integral to suc-
cess and where companies are innovating rapidly in the CSR and sustainability
space. It is not coincidental that Unilever, Nestlé, and P&G are competing with
CSR in both the consumer and employee market or that professional service firms
Accenture, Ernst & Young, IBM, and PwC have each launched global service pro-
grams for their employees.
However, the choice among these three models for engaging employees
through CSR will not necessarily be supported by short-term returns. My own
hypotheses is that companies that engage employees in relational or transforma-
tive ways connect their actions more so to their vision, mission, and valuesas
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
employers and as an enterprise. This means that their employee engagement is
aligned with commercial and product/service strategies, as well as with marketing
and corporate communications. This approach, which enables employees to live
the brand,aims at brand building and longer-term value creation.
Stage of CSR
Scholars have posited that another factor shaping the profile of CSR in
companies has to do with its stage of development within the firm. One formula-
tion sees companies progressing from an elementary to an engaged, innovative,
integrated and, in some instances, transformative approach to CSR.
At each
stage of development, the companys engagement with societal issues is progres-
sively more open and dealings with stakeholders are more interactive and mutual.
In the same way, how companies think about their responsibilities becomes more
complex, and the organizational structures, processes, and systems used to man-
age CSR are more sophisticated and aligned with the business.
Applying this logic to employee engagement, it can be argued that using CSR
for purposes of HR management seems to fit the style and capabilities of firms at the
early stages of developing an organization-wide commitment to social responsibility
and sustainability.
Surely, this approach can prove satisfying and even enriching to
individual employees. However, absent managerial support, feedback, recognition,
and rewards, it is questionable to what extent a pro-social and/or pro-environmental
ethos can develop among employees in an organization.
The relational model of
engagement seems to fit best for firms that have reached an integrative stage of
developing CSRthey have a full portfolio of policies and programs and staff-and-
line functions are aligned behind triple bottom line objectives.
IBMs arc of CSR shows what can happen to employee engagement as a
company progresses from a transactional to transformative stage. Early on, IBM
innovated with its On Demand Volunteer Community. Then it expanded its skill-
based program from reinventing education to opening up options that would range
from volunteering in a social service agency to getting a team together to assist a
nonprofit to participating in MentorPlace where thousands of IBM employees
mentor students online. Today, its signature employee program is the IBM Corporate
Service Corps (CSC).
IBM has sent over 1000 employees on 100 teams to 24 countries on one-
month service assignments through its CSC. Modeled on the U.S. Peace Corps, the
program engages teams of volunteers in three months of pre-work, one month in-
country, and two months in post-service where they harvest insights for themselves
and their business. What do the volunteers do? In Tanzania, IBM teams collaborated
with KickStart, a nonprofit offering new technologies to fight poverty in Africa, by
developing modular training courses in marketing, sales, and supply chain manage-
ment for local entrepreneurs. Teams in Brazil helped to develop a funding strategy
for a community-based organization, Aprendiz, which works to keep disadvantaged
youth off the streets in the slums of São Paulo. This isnt just a São Paulo issue, this
isntjustafavela issue, this is a global issue,said one of the team members.
Global service programs are proving to be a win-win-winfor companies,
their employees, and local clients. Companies that institute them benefit from
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
staff with greater knowledge of countries important to business expansion, and
they often see an increase in staff retention and performance. Companies also
benefit from an enhanced reputation in the countries where programs are imple-
mented and from being seen worldwide as a global corporate citizen.
For employees, global service schools them on how to get things done with
limited resources, how to work in complex, multi-stakeholder environments and
how to operate in another culture. They also learn a lot about themselves and
social-and-environmental issues in the world around them.
Finally, local organ-
izations benefit from improved processes, enhanced staff performance, increased
revenues, and improved networks and external relationships. Intels Education
Service Corps sends teams for two-week assignments to power upstudents with
computing technology, know-how, and infrastructure. As a student from Uganda
As an African, I am grateful for programs like this that can help bridge the gap not
only between the developing continents, but also within our own neighborhoods,
communities, cities, and the continent at large. The greatest part of such programs
is the sustainability aspect that is attached to ittraining the older ones or equip-
ping the more knowledgeable ones to take charge of their own environment and
be responsible. For the individual volunteers, you do a great job by leaving your
comfort zone to bring hope and increase the faith of others. This is the greatest ser-
vice anyone can give to humanity and self.
How to Best Serve Society
It is also important for companies to consider how they can best serve the
interests of society through their employee engagement efforts. Frankly, with
many companies today making CSR more strategic and business-relevant, and
focused on measuring its business value, it is sometimes an afterthought that a
central part of their CSR value proposition is to serve societys needs. There is
today a growing consensus that corporations are uniquely positioned to address
some of the worlds biggest problems. Some argue that they have responsibilities
to do so.
However, this requires mobilizing their employees in service to soci-
etys needs. What does this mean for employee engagement?
It is fashionable today to frame CSR strategically in the logic and lexicon of
shared value.
For the past thirty years, business has focused on extracting
value by cost-cutting, downsizing, outsourcing, business process reengineering,
and the like. A turn to shared value opens up new avenues for value creation
for business and society. That said, the concept of shared value still leaves business
in the drivers seatsourcing, making, distributing, and selling goods and services
with the primary intent to maximize its profit. In this framing, issues such as
global warming, declining school-and-student performance, a health care crisis,
and just about every other environmental and social issue are considered through
the profit-making calculus, not as a matter of corporate or shared responsibility.
Adding an sto the concept, and bringing shared valuesinto the mix turns
attentions not only to creating value, but also to engaging stakeholdersemployees,
investors, consumers, community interests, government and nongovernmental
organizationsin setting the CSR agenda of a firm. This moves companies into a
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
new role viz. other societal actors and interests. It requires that traditional corporate
aspirations for profits and efficiency be considered alongside social progress, equity,
and other interests relevant to stakeholdersand, in the context here, especially to
interests of employees.
Firms that have joined in the United Nations Global Compact, or participated
in multi-sector and industry groups on climate change, water, human rights, and
the like, are embracing a positive socio-political role in society. This naturally
expresses itself in their engagement of employees through CSR. Today increasing
numbers of companies work with NGOs to design and deliver community-oriented
engagement programs. Part of an NGOs job is to ensure that the communitys
voice enters program planning and that any evaluations take into account the
social-and-ecological value delivered.
As societys interests enter more fully into employee engagement efforts, and
companies take seriously the import of sustainable social impact, possibilities open up
to scale programs though the involvement of the full corporate value chainfrom
suppliers to customers to end consumersas Timberland and Unilever have done.
There are also some efforts underway at creating multi-organizational employee
engagement: FedEx employees, for instance, have joined IBMers in Corporate
Service Corps assignments and employees from multiple companies have teamed
up in cause marketing efforts, such as the Red Campaign. Beyond business
benefits, these efforts are pitchedtoward societal benefits, including the development
of a pan-organizational cadre of business leaders that understand what joining
CSR to employee engagement can mean for themselves, their companies, and the
Assumptions about People and Psychological Contracts
Finally, decisions about engagement also reflect how companies think about
people and their desired relationship with employees. The transactional model, for
instance, seems most suited to the archetype of homo economicusthe rational, cal-
culative, self-interested image of humans whose motives are personal gain, even in
their charity. By contrast, the relational model embodies homo reciprocansa view
of humans as ready and willing to cooperate with and reach out to others, and
inclined toward some self-sacrifice for the sake of the group.The developmental
model seems to reflect homo communicansthe view that people prefer to stay
in contact with and connected to the surrounding world in their economic and
social life.
The foregoing does not mean that companies need to engage in deep phil-
osophical inquiry in choosing between one or another engagement model. How-
ever, as McGregor pointed out decades ago, it is important for companies to clarify
assumptions about people in the selection and definition of management practi-
ces. It makes sense, too, to have employees directly involved in developing a com-
panys engagement philosophy and strategy. That way their voicesas workers,
to be sure, but also as family and community members, and as citizens of a society
and the planetcan also be reflected in the design and operations of their com-
panys CSR efforts.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
Some Open Questions
While this article is chock-full of references to theory and studies, it is sur-
prising that so many open questions remain about engaging employees through
CSR. For example, increasing numbers of employees today are engaged in jobs
that address, directly or indirectly, the ethical, social, and environmental respon-
sibilities of their firms. This includes all manner of work on greening the supply
chain; reducing energy use and emissions; improving product stewardship and
jobs involving fair-trade or cause-related marketing; expanding consumer access
to finance, medicines, or technology; social auditing and reporting; stakeholder
engagement; and so on. These activities constitute good workand provide the
social significance predictive of higher levels of employee engagement.
What is not known is how employees themselves calibrate these attributes
versus other job productsor how they psychologically situate themselves in their
companies. One hunch is that these more or less comprise job dutiesin cases of
transactional engagement but morph into our workin a relational context. Could
this work equate to my purposein cases of developmental engagement?
Consider looking deeper into some basic unanswered questions: Does
engagement through CSR follow simply from being a part of a company known
for its social responsibility? The benefits to self-esteem and image can be potent;
you work for a goodcompany! Or does it require actually doing something
socially responsible on ones job? Can volunteerism substitute for putting CSR
to work on the job? Vice-versa? And what about psychic gains from participating
in a CSR effort while working for a badcompany?
Finally, there are questions about the import and possibilities of employee
voice in the design and operation of a companys CSR program. How does engaging
employees through CSR contribute to workplace democracy? And what are the
implications for corporate governance of truly engaging employees as citizens?
1. Unreferenced quotes and case material come from the authors field research.
2. Cone Communications, Past. Present. Future. The 25
Anniversary of Cause Marketing,
Boston, MA, 2009, at <>.
3. See B. Boccalandro, Mapping Success in Employee Volunteering,Boston College Center for
Corporate Citizenship, Boston, MA, 2009.
4. See G. Hills and A. Mahmud, Volunteering for Impact: Best Practices in International Corporate Vol-
unteering (Boston, MA: FSG Social Impact Advisors, 2007).
5. On longer-term, risk-adjusted trends, see A. Edmans, Does the Stock Market Fully Value Intan-
gibles? Employee Satisfaction and Equity Prices,Journal of Financial Economics,101/3(September
2011): 621-640. For a 1- and 3-year study, see Closing the Engagement Gap: A Roadmap for
Driving Superior Business Performance,Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study 2007-2008,
6. See M. Orlitzky, F.L. Schmidt, and S.L. Rynes, Corporate Social and Financial Performance:
A Meta-Analysis,Organization Studies, 24/3 (2003): 403-441; J.D. Margolis and J.P. Walsh,
People and Profits? The Search for a Link between a Companys Social and Financial Performance
(Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001); S.A. Waddock and S.B. Graves, The
Corporate Social Performance-Financial Performance Link,Strategic Management Journal,18/4
(April 1997): 303-319.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
7. See S. Brammer, A. Millington, and B. Rayton, The Contribution of Corporate Social Respon-
sibility to Organizational Commitment,International Journal of Human Resource Management,
18/10 (October 2007): 1701-1719; S. Stawiski, J.J. Deal, and W. Gentry, Employee Percep-
tions of Corporate Social Responsibility,Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC,
8. Sirota Survey Intelligence, Workers Satisfied With Companys Social Responsibility Are More
Engaged and Positive,at <>. Some 71 percent of employees
who approved of their companys commitments had favorable perceptions of their manage-
ments integrity versus 21 percent of those who did not approve. Those who favored their
companys commitments were also more engaged in their job (86 versus 37%) and more
apt to believe that their employers were interested in their well-being (75 versus 17%). They
rated their company as more competitive, too (82 versus 41%).
9. Towers Perrin 2007 Global Workforce Study,at <>.
10. Gallup Engagement Index, at <>, accessed December 9, 2010.
11. GolinHarris surveys, Doing Well by Doing Good (2006-2010),at <>.
12. CSR minus HR = PR,Management Issues Ltd, at <
24/research/csr-minus-hr-pr.asp>, accessed December 20, 2010.
13. See P.H. Mirvis, Building Reputation Here, There and Everywhere: Worldwide Views on
Local Impact of Corporate Responsibility,study with Reputation Institute, Center for Corpo-
rate Citizenship, Boston, MA, 2009.
14. Globescan, Corporate Social Responsibility Monitor,at <>.
15. The traditional employment contract between large companies and their employees, based in
welfare capitalism and offering cradle-to-grave job security, was shattered in the U.S. and U.K.
in the 1980s and to some extent in continental Europe a decade later. Ongoing corporate
restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, and the like ever since have led to declines in employee
job satisfaction and continuous job insecurity. Even the Japanese salarymanis suffering mal-
aise. Yet while this overall trend continues, there has been in recent years a war for talent
among employers to recruit and retain high-skilled employees and attention given overall to
making the workplace more appealing. Increases in company diversity and work-life programs,
in support of employee personal development programs, and now in engaging employees
through CSR all aim to enhance the psychological contract between companies and employees.
16. D.M. Rousseau, Psychological Contracts in Organizations: Understanding Written and Unwritten
Agreements (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995).
17. See P.H. Mirvis and D.T. Hall, Psychological Success and the Boundaryless Career,Journal of
Organizational Behavior, 15 (1994): 365-380.
18. P. Senge, B. Smith, S. Schley, J. Laur, and N. Kruschwitz, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals
and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World (New York, NY: Doubleday,
19. GlobeScan (op. cit.) asks the public annually whether companies are not at all,”“somewhat,
or completelyresponsible for various aspects of business operations and their impact on soci-
ety. The pollsters find that large majorities in twenty-one countries hold companies completely
responsible for the safety of their products, fair treatment of employees, responsible use of raw
materials, and for not harming the environment. These are, of course, operational aspects of
firms and well within their control. However, in addition, a significant segment of the public
holds companies completely responsible for reducing human rights abuses, preventing the
spread of HIV/AIDS, and reducing the rich-poor gap. Add in the category of partially responsi-
ble, and business is responsible, in the publics eye, not only for minding its own store, but also
for addressing the worlds ills.
20. See A New Era of Sustainability: UN Global CompactAccenture CEO Study 2010,<www.>.
21. See B. Googins, P.H. Mirvis, and S. Rochlin, Beyond Good Company: Next Generation Corporate
Citizenship (New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007).
22. C.B. Bhattacharya, S. Sen, and D. Korschun, Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the
War for Talent,MIT Sloan Management Review, 49/2 (Winter 2008): 37-44.
23. See R.L. Sims and K.G. Kroeck, The Influence of Ethical Fit on Employee Satisfaction,
Commitment and Turnover,Journal of Business Ethics, 13/12 (December 1994): 939-947.
24. Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey, 2010,at <>.
25. See P.H. Mirvis, B. Googins, and S. Kinnicutt, Vision, Mission, Values: Guideposts to Sustain-
ability,Organization Dynamics, 39/4 (2010): 316-324.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
26. R.M. Kanter, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social
Good (New York, NY: Crown Business, 2009).
27. See P.H. Mirvis, Transformation at Shell: Commerce and Citizenship,Business and Society
Review, 105/1 (Spring 2000): 63-84.
28. National Environment Education Foundation, The Business Case for Environmental and Employee
Sustainability Education, February 2010.
29. The Reputation Institute finds that while social responsibility is a significant driver in attracting
employees in the United States (over 62 percent say it is important to them), it is even more
important in many other countries, including India (69 percent), China (79 percent), Germany
(71 percent), and Argentina (80.6 percent). See Mirvis (2009), op. cit.
30. A. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation,Psychological Review, 50/4 (1943): 370-396.
31. D. Yankelovich, New Rules: Searching for Self-Fulfillment in a World Turned Upside Down
(New York, NY: Random House, 1981).
32. William Macey and Benjamin Schneider point out that the satisfaction = engagementfor-
mula does not incorporate a full range of psychological engagement statesincluding employ-
ees sense of activation, involvement, empowerment, and/or commitment. Furthermore,
satisfaction does not predict behavioralengagement: demonstrations of employee initiative,
adaptation, and going beyond what is typical and ordinarily expected. See W.H. Macey and
B. Schneider, The Meaning of Employee Engagement,Industrial and Organizational Psychology,
1 (2008): 3-30. Several field studies have shown that employees actively involved in philan-
thropic initiatives report a significant increase in their sense of involvement in their companies.
This increase is also correlated to improved job performance. See C A. Ramus and A.B.C.
Killmer, Corporate Greening through Pro-Social Extrarole BehavioursA Conceptual Frame-
work for Employee Motivation,Business Strategy and the Environment, 16/8 (December 2007):
554-570; C.A. Bartel, Social Comparisons in Boundary-Spanning Work: Effects of Community
Outreach on MembersOrganizational Identity and Identification,Administrative Science Quar-
terly, 46/3 (September 2001): 379-413.
33. A.M. Grant, Relational Job Design and the Motivation to Make a Prosocial Difference,Acad-
emy of Management Review, 32/2 (April 2007): 393-417.
34. A.M. Grant, J.E. Dutton, and B. Rosso, Giving Commitment: Employee Support Programs
and the Prosocial Sensemaking Process,Academy of Management Journal, 51/5 (October
2008): 898-918.
35. See D.P. Lepak, K.M. Bartol, and N.L. Erhardt, A Contingency Framework for the Delivery of
HR Practices,Human Resource Management Review, 15/2 (June 2005): 139-159.
36. C.P. Alderfer, Existence, Relatedness, and Growth: Human Needs in Organizational Settings (New
York, NY: Free Press, 1972).
37. C.D. Batson, How Social an Animal? The Human Capacity for Caring,American Psychologist,
45 (1990): 336-346.
38. A. Glavas, Effects of Corporate Citizenship on Employees: Why Does Doing Good Matter?
unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Case Western Reserve University, 2009.
39. On relational models of work, see D.L. Blustein, The Psychology of Working: A New Perspective for
Career Development, Counseling, and Public Policy (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2006). In developmen-
tal psychology, Jean Baker Miller argues that the self cannot be separated from its relation to
others and that an interacting sense of selfis present for all infants and informs development
of the self over the life course. In a sociological frame, George Herbert Mead likewise contends
that ones sense of self is formed in relation to multiple expectations and demands from soci-
ety. See J.B. Miller, Toward a New Psychology of Women (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1976); G.H.
Mead, Mind, Self and Society (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1934).
40. See D.A. Thomas and R.J. Ely, Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing
Diversity,Harvard Business Review, 74/5 (September/October 1996): 80-90; V. Parker and
D.T. Hall, Workplace Flexibility: Faddish or Fundamental,in P.H. Mirvis, ed., Building the Com-
petitive Workforce: Investing in Human Capital for Corporate Success (New York, NY: John Wiley, 1993).
41. See Engaging Employees as Citizens,in B. Googins, P.H. Mirvis, and S. Rochlin, Beyond Good
Company: Next Generation Corporate Citizenship (New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007).
42. See P.H. Mirvis, Human Development or Depersonalization? The Company as Total Commu-
nity,in F. Heuberger and L. Nash, eds., A Fatal Embrace? Assessing Holistic Trends in Human
Resources Programs (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1994).
43. H.S. Schwartz, On the Psychodynamics of Organizational Totalitarianism,Journal of Manage-
ment, 13/1 (Spring 1987): 41-55.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
44. A.H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (New York, NY: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1968).
45. Early on, Maslow, like many of his contemporaries, expressed concern that the existing social
orderthwarted peoples personal growth and countered inclinations toward altruism and
generativity. He later confessed that his earlier depictions of human motivation were too indi-
vidualisticand failed to acknowledge the positive potential of groups, organizations, and
communities to promote human development. See A.H. Maslow, Eupsychian Management
(Homewood, IL: Irwin/Dorsey, 1965).
46. See R. Kegan, ed., In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1994).
47. See D. McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1960); E. Fromm,
To Have or To Be? (New York, NY: Continuum, 1976). Also on Fromm, see T. Mills, Human
ResourcesWhy the New Concern?Harvard Business Review, 53/2 (March/April 1975):
48. See D.L. Kanter and P.H. Mirvis, The Cynical Americans: Living and Working in an Age of Discontent
and Disillusion (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1989).
49. M. Csikszentmihalyi, The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium (New York, NY:
Harper/Collins, 1993).
50. Many of the leaders, in turn, led journeys for their next layers of management and everyday
employees, ultimately engaging over 26,000 employees in service learning. See P.H. Mirvis
and L. Gunning, Creating a Community of Leaders,Organizational Dynamics, 35/1 (February
2006): 69-82.
51. J.R. Hackman and E.E. Lawler, Employee Reaction to job Characteristics,Journal of Applied
Psychology, 55 (1971): 259-286.
52. Safety and health, labor practices, and labor/management relationships are, of course, matters
of law in many countries and thus fit into the compliance category for companies. However,
increasingly firms are being held to higher standards of human resource management. The lat-
est version of the Global Reporting Initiative, as one example, covers basic employment issues
but also stipulates that companies report on the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of their
workforce, management, and board of directors, the hours and monies spent on employee
training, and details of their policies and plans to promote lifelong learning.
53. See J. Pfeffer, Building Sustainable Organizations: The Human Factor,Academy of Manage-
ment Perspectives, 24/1 (February 2010): 34-45; D.L. Blustein, A Relational Theory of Work-
ing,Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79/1 (August 2011): 1-17.
54. L.S. Paine, Managing for Organizational Integrity,Harvard Business Review, 72/2 (March/
April 1994): 106-119.
55. See S. Bonini, T.M. Koller, and P.H. Mirvis, Valuing Social Responsibility,McKinsey on
Finance, 32 (Summer 2009): 11-18.
56. D. Vogel, The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Responsibility (Washington,
D.C.: Brookings, 2005).
57. M.K. Linnenluecke and A. Griffiths, Corporate Sustainability and Organizational Culture,
Journal of World Business, 45/4 (October 2010): 357-366.
58. See M.J. Hatch and P.H. Mirvis, Designing a Positive Image: Corporate Branding + CSR,in
T. Thatchenkery, D. Cooperrider, and M. Avital, eds., Positive Design and Appreciative Construction:
From Sustainable Development to Sustainable Value, Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, Volume 4
(New York, NY: Emerald, 2010).
59. P.H. Mirvis and B. Googins, Stages of Corporate Citizenship: A Developmental Framework,
California Management Review, 48/2 (Winter 2006): 104-126.
60. In addition, companies at the early stages of developing their CSR profile tend to be reactive in
engaging social-and-environmental issues. As they become more proactive, it seems impera-
tive that they engage more of their employees (both as individuals and collectively) in tackling
these issues. This translates into more inclusive and demanding engagement strategies of the
relational and developmental type.
61. N. Govindarajulu and B.F. Daily, Motivating Employees for Environmental Improvement,
Industrial Management & Data Systems, 104/4 (2004): 364-372; C.J.C. Jabbour, and F.C.A. Santos,
The Central Role of Human Resource Management in the Search for Sustainable Organiza-
tions,International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19/12 (December 2008): 2133-2154.
62. An evaluation by Chris Marquis of IBMs CSC found significant increases in the cultural intel-
ligence and emotional resilience of IBMers who participated in global service assignments.
A study of PWCs Ulysses program found that company participants gained greater cultural
literacy, deeper understandings of responsible leadership, and enhanced community-building
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
skills. See P.H. Mirvis, K. Thompson, and C. Marquis, Preparing Next Generation Business
Leaders,in R. Burke and M. Rothstein, eds., Self-Management and Leadership Development
(Cheltenham, UK: Edgar Elgar, 2010); N.M. Pless T. Maak, and G.K. Stahl, Developing Global
Leaders through International Service Learning Programs: The Ulysses Experience,Academy of
Management Learning & Education, 10/2 (June 2011): 237-260.
63. See D. Matten and A. Crane, Corporate Citizenship: Toward an Extended Theoretical Concep-
tualization,Academy of Management Review, 30/1 (January 2005): 166-179; A.G. Scherer and
G. Palazzo, Toward a Political Conception of Corporate Responsibility: Business and Society
Seen from a Habermasian Perspective,Academy of Management Review, 32/4 (October 2007):
64. See M.E. Porter and M.R. Kramer, Creating Shared Value,Harvard Business Review, 89/1-2
(January/February 2011): 62-77.
65. A colleague, Prof. G.J. (Deon) Rossouw, CEO of the Ethics Institute of South Africa, suggested
the developmental model also fits with homo quaerensthe being that is constantly looking for
meaning in life.
66. See W.A. Kahn, Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at
Work,Academy of Management Journal, 33/4 (December 1990): 692-724; H. Gardner,
M. Csikszentmihalyi, and W. Damon, Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (New York,
NY: Basic Books, 2001).
67. Consider recent research by Julie Bayle-Cordier on socially responsible organization identity
(SROI)what does it mean for how people think of their organization self?See J. Bayle-
Cordier, The Impact of an M&A on a Target Firm: A Socially Responsible Organizational Identity
Perspective,Dissertation, HEC Paris, France, 2010; M.G. Pratt and M.S. Kraatz, E Pluribus
Unum: Multiple Identities and the Organizational Self,in L.M. Roberts and J.E. Dutton, eds.,
Exploring Positive Identities and Organizations (New York, NY: Routledge, 2009).
68. Some fine scholars are addressing these kinds of questions as they trace links from organiza-
tional CSR practices to employee outcomes and from employee participation in CSR efforts
to organizational outcomes. See J.P. Gond, A. El Akremi, J. Igalens, and V. Swaen, A Corpo-
rate Responsibility-Corporate Financial Performance Behavioural Model for Employees,in
N. Craig Smith, C.B. Bhattacharya, D. Vogel, and D. Levine, eds., Global Challenges in Respon-
sible Business (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 13-48; R.L. Raffaelli, Letting
Your Employees Walk the Talk: Corporate Social Responsibility & Employee Commitment,
symposium presentation in Corporate Social Responsibility from the Ground Up: Cultivating
a Micro-Level Employee Perspectiveat the 69th annual meeting of the Academy of Manage-
ment, Chicago, IL, 2009.
California Management Review, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 93117. ISSN 0008-1256, eISSN 2162-8564. © 2012
by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy
or reproduce article content at the University of California Presss Rights and Permissions website at DOI: 10.1525/cmr.2012.54.4.93.
Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, Relational, and Developmental Approaches
... There is increased recognition that HRM has a potentially vital role to play in addressing these challenges, for example, by creating employee engagement with the firm's sustainability activities, creating performance management and incentive systems aligned with an emphasis on social and environmental sustainability, designing workplace-based practices that help the firm reduce harmful environmental practices, and offering company-sponsored volunteerism and leadership development programs aimed at promoting citizenship and sustainable development (e.g., Cohen et al., 2012;Mirvis, 2012;Voegtlin & Greenwood, 2016). ...
... It is worth noting that the top management team plays a pivotal role in an organization's sustainability efforts (e.g., Ren, Fan, & Tang, 2022;Ren, Jiang, & Tang, 2022), raises important issues pertaining to leader integrity (Pfeffer, 2016), executive compensation (e.g., Deckop et al., 2006), human resource development (e.g., Pless et al., 2012), corporate governance (e.g., Filatotchev & Stahl, 2015), talent management (e.g., Collings, 2014), and how to develop responsible leaders (e.g., Mirvis, 2012), all of which have distinct HRM implications. ...
... They are contributing to the betterment of the world (Aguinis & Glavas, 2019). Employees help organisations to perform better when they feel their job is meaningful (Aguinis & Glavas, 2019;Mirvis, 2012). Work design and performance management systems mostly collect and assess workers' first two job orientations: job and career, thus ignoring the "calling" (Xie et al., 2019). ...
Full-text available
Background : Organisations in the contemporary workplace lack meaningful work and life, resulting in psychological and physical pain for workers. Employees seek organisations that align their daily work activities with society. Partially limited research exists on the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee work-related attitudes, especially with the mediating mechanism of employee work meaningfulness (EWM) and organisation identification (OID) in developing country contexts such as Pakistan. This study has used Social Learning Theory (SLT) and Social Identification Theory (SIT). Methods : Data were collected through a sample of 154 employees in two waves from multiple sectors in Karachi, Pakistan, using non-probability, purposive sampling. The PLS-SEM, along with IBM-SPSS, was run for data analysis. Results : The results demonstrated that Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a significant positive relationship with employee work-related attitudes. CSR affects organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) and pro-environmental behaviours (PEB) through the mediation mechanism of employee work meaningfulness (EWM) and organisational identification (OID). Conclusion : This study contributes to the nascent literature by establishing that EWM and OID mediate the effect of CSR on OCB and PEB. Furthermore, this study utilizes two primary theoretical lenses and provides a novel contribution to the current literature. Finally, this study provides valuable insights to policymakers, businesses, and society.
... Millennial generation can feel valued when communicated effectively (Ozcelik, 2015). Mirvis (2012) found that three out of four millennial generations wanted it to work for employers who had a positive impact on society. The culture of an organization must be maintained by leadership (Nolan, 2015). ...
Full-text available
Millennials have an important role in the growth of the company nowadays and in the future where the workforce will be majority by the millennial generation. Employee engagement has become a potential factor for organizational performance. Many leaders or practitioners of human resource management still using the old method and have poorly understanding on how to engage their millennials which lead them to many difficulties in managing millennial which results in organizations failing to keep them working within the desired time period and also failed to engage them for their best contribution to the company. The purpose of this case study is to understand the strategies and methods used by a company located in Jakarta, the largest metropolitan city in Indonesia, in order to engage its millennial employees to get more contribution of organizational productivity. This case study uses triangulation which is a multimethod approach when collecting and analyzing data, to ensure the correctness of data or information obtained from a variety of different perspectives. In this study data was obtained from interviews, online data searches through the internet regarding the company and 2018 quarterly reports from the HR Department. The findings revealed that the HR Department used specific strategies for career growth opportunities, good communication between superiors and subordinates, pleasant work environment, positive image of the company in the community. The results obtained are very beneficial to the organization growth and company’s success.
... HRM function can manage CSR and in turn bring benefits to organisational development and organisational effectiveness (Fenwick and Bierema, 2008;Jackson and Seo, 2010). In addition, CSR also impacts the behaviour of employees in a positive direction and contributes towards leadership development (Zappala, 2004;Collier and Esteban, 2007;Gond et al., 2011;Mirvis, 2012). ...
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand the evolutionary influences on corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature at a global level and propose the future studies required to enhance the CSR literature. Design/methodology/approach This paper combines the methodologies of narrative review and historical analysis. Drawing on the archival information, this paper synthesises data from multiple sources to bring out an enhanced understanding of the external influences on the development of CSR literature. Findings The findings suggest that the CSR literature in the previous decades has been influenced by several management domains like strategic management, marketing management and organisational behaviour. The future research is likely to be more influenced by the perspectives of national business system, politico-legal context and practical considerations related to implementation. Practical implications This review paper presents a case for studying the practical aspects of CSR implementation and the changing nature of the external context of CSR. Originality/value The paper offers unique value by combining different review methodologies and abstraction at a global level. This paper is a significant addition to better understand the impact of business events on the progress of CSR and the external influence on CSR literature.
Previous research on employee voice has sought to design technological solutions that address the challenges of speaking up in the workplace. However, effectively embedding employee voice systems in organisations requires designers to engage with the social processes, power relations and contextual factors of individual workplaces. We explore this process within a university workplace through a research project responding to a crisis in educational service delivery arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a successful three-month staff-led engagement, we examined the intricacies of embedding employee voice, exploring how the interactions between existing actors impacted the effectiveness of the process. We sought to identify specific actions to promote employee voice and overcome barriers to its successful establishment in organisational decision-making. We highlight design considerations for an effective employee voice system that facilitates embedding employee voice, including assurance, bounded accountability and bias reflexivity.
Purpose This research paper aims to explore whether and how perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) influences employee-associated outcomes in ways that are controllable by managers. Drawing from the theories of self-determination and social identity, this study investigates the mediating effects of psychological needs fulfillment and organizational identification in exploring the mechanisms that link perceived CSR to employee job performances of Chinese state-owned tourism companies. Design/methodology/approach Survey was used to collect original data from ten Chinese state-owned tourism companies to examine the proposed model. Data was analyzed through structural equation modeling. Findings Employees’ perceptions of CSR are found to demonstrate significantly effective associations with their job performance. Moreover, results support that the influences of CSR on staff’s job performance are also conveyed through psychological needs fulfillment (competence) and organizational identification (i.e. cognitive identification and affective identification). Practical implications Findings not only provide strategic ideas and operational tactics for tourism managers to devise CSR strategies and allocate CSR resources but also offer inspirations to integrate CSR initiatives with human resource management strategies. Originality/value This study diverts the research of CSR from the organizational level to the individual level. This study also explores the mechanism of psychological needs fulfillment and organizational identification underlying processes in the employee perceptions of CSR–job performance linkages.
Purpose Sport organizations’ use of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become commonplace. Similarly, academic inquiry into the CSR phenomenon has become almost as ubiquitous. However, this paper argues that a group has been forgotten about in the literature surrounding sport and CSR: the campaign beneficiary, especially in sport-based CSR research. After all, CSR campaigns are intended to support a certain group. Design/methodology/approach Using a social identity theory and social identity complexity qualitative framework, this paper analyzes the perceptions of the National Football League's (NFL) Salute to Service military campaign among service members, veterans and families. Findings After collecting data via a series of 16 interviews, while service members stated that the service members appreciated the campaign and appreciated what the NFL seeks to do through the campaign, this specific Salute to Service did not have a significant cognitive and behavioral impact for these military consumers. Originality/value This work builds on prior CSR beneficiary literature, providing an opportunity to further expand ways in which sport organizations can make sports organizations' CSR campaigns more impactful.
Increasingly, employees are recognized as important enactors and contributors to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, making their engagement a critical consideration of internal stakeholder management. While the positive outcomes of employees’ CSR engagement have been extensively investigated, the present study focuses on an essential yet understudied question: How do employees engage in organizational CSR activities through communication efforts? We proposed and tested an employee-centered CSR engagement model based on the reasoned action approach. Findings from a survey with 406 employees indicated that CSR communication consisting of both instrumental and co-creational aspects could effectively foster employees’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement in CSR. Positive attitudes and perceived supportive workplace norms regarding CSR participation are key mediators. This study answers the call for more research on the individual-level drivers of CSR engagement from an employee perspective and offers practical implications for internal CSR communication design.
Under the stakeholder theory hypothesis, reputable corporate social responsibility (CSR) banks are expected to attract more loans and deposits, which in turn strengthens their ability to create liquidity. Our findings support this view. Further analyses reveal that the positive effect of CSR on liquidity creation differs depending on bank size, bank capital, and type of financial crisis. In addition, deposit growth, loan growth, lending rate, and funding rate are potential channels through which CSR influences bank liquidity creation. The findings are not driven by an endogeneity issue. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The authors have conducted extensive research into the role of business in public life. This book takes a practice-oriented look at corporate citizenship, and uses real, behind the scenes examples from well-known companies to show that for many firms social responsibility is becoming more integrated into corporate strategy. © Bradley K. Googins, Philip H. Mirvis, and Steven A. Rochlin, 2007. All rights reserved.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a subject for debate during the last 60 years and several related matters have been widely discussed. In this chapter, theconcept of CSR is briefly presented through its evolution. Particular attention is drawn on the paradigm of stakeholder theory, according to which corporate activities should be regarded in terms of the corporation’s ability to satisfy not only its shareholders, but also its various stakeholders and not necessarily only from an economic perspective. CSR, in fact, is correlated with the dominant pattern of sustainable development. In this chapter, CSR reporting is extensively dealt from a Triple Bottom Line perspective, i.e., as ameans to articulate the concept of sustainable development in the business world. The most widely accepted guidelines, reporting standards and initiatives that have been developed to facilitate CSR management, are presented as well as various relevant rating and evaluation schemes. A brief discussion also follows about the critique, which has been discoursed concerning CSR and CSR reporting. © 2012 by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.
Today's CEOs are under pressure to address pervasive environmental, social and ethical issues. Companies are held accountable for the direct and indirect consequences of their actions and face a plethora of issues such as ensuring environmental sustainability and sound labour practices, sourcing skilled employees in areas with limited educational systems, ensuring the respect of workers' rights and meeting the needs of the world's poor. A vast range of activities now comes under the corporate social responsibility umbrella: ‘from volunteering in the local community to looking after employees properly, from helping the poor to saving the planet’. According to a 2007 McKinsey global survey, managers consider that society has greater expectations for business to take on public responsibilities than it had five years ago. The existence of a positive relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance (CFP), however, remains considered by many as a necessary condition to justify the managerial relevance of the CSR concept. As Michael Porter observed: Although there is a lot of feeling that ‘we ought to do it’ amongst analyst executives and a lot of corporate statements about companies' social ambition and efforts, there are also a lot of uncomfortable sentiments about why companies should be doing it. Corporate leaders are now giving lip service to this area [corporate social responsibility], but they do not ultimately understand it. No matter what they say in public, when you get behind the scenes with executives and directors, they will ask you ‘why should we invest in social initiatives?’ […]