ArticlePDF Available

Does CSR Enhance Employer Attractiveness? The Role of Millennial Job Seekers' Attitudes: CSR-based employer attractiveness and Millennials' attitudes


Abstract and Figures

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important in labor market communication. To express organizational identity, reinforcing commitment to sustainable development and stakeholder engagement, organizations report their CSR activities. The impact of a company's employer branding (EB) strategy depends on how information recipients interpret corporate messages. Therefore, we assume that job seekers may show diverse attitudes toward CSR. The extant literature has hardly explored the interplay between CSR, EB, and job seekers' attitudes, so we identify a relevant research gap to be tackled. The aim of this paper is to examine how millennial job seekers' attitudes toward CSR influence perceived CSR-based employer attractiveness (EA). We conducted an empirical study in Poland, collecting data from a sample of Millennials – highly sensitive toward CSR issues. Our results generally confirm that individual attitudes toward CSR play a key role in understanding how job seekers perceive CSR signals and eventually impact CSR-based EA. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Content may be subject to copyright.
How to cite:
Klimkiewicz, K., and Oltra, V. (2017) Does CSR Enhance Employer Attractiveness? The Role
of Millennial Job Seekers' Attitudes. Corp. Soc. Responsib. Environ. Mgmt., 24: 449463.
doi: 10.1002/csr.1419.
Dr Katarzyna Klimkiewicz
Faculty of Management
AGH University of Science and Technology
Gramatyka 10
30-067 Cracow
Dr Victor Oltra
Faculty of Economics, Department of Business Management
University of Valencia
Av. Tarongers, s/n
46022 Valencia
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), employer attractiveness, employer branding, individual
attitudes, Millennials, stakeholder engagement.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important in labour market
communication. To express organizational identity, reinforcing commitment to sustainable
development and stakeholder engagement, organizations report their CSR activities. The
impact of a company’s employer branding (EB) strategy depends on how information
recipients interpret corporate messages. Therefore, we assume that job seekers may show
diverse attitudes towards CSR. The extant literature has hardly explored the interplay between
CSR, EB and job seekers’ attitudes, so we identify a relevant research gap to be tackled. The
aim of this paper is to examine how Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR influence
perceived CSR-based employer attractiveness (EA). We conducted an empirical study in
Poland, collecting data from a sample of Millennials – highly sensitive towards CSR issues.
Our results generally confirm that individual attitudes towards CSR play a key role in
understanding how job seekers perceive CSR signals and eventually impact CSR-based EA.
Research conducted in a not too far past showed that very little attention was given to
ethics and Corporate Social Performance (CSP) issues in recruitment descriptions (Backhaus,
2004), despite their importance in explaining potential employer attractiveness (EA) to job
seekers (Alniacik et al., 2011). Addressing these concerns, Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) has been increasingly becoming a significant element of corporate communication and
employer branding (EB) (Amaladoss and Manohar, 2013; McElhaney, 2008; Ziek, 2009).
In this paper, we deal with the challenge of identifying whether a good CSR image can
attract prospective employees. Moreover, CSR is quite a complex and controversial concept
(Dobers and Springett, 2010), implying both potentially positive or negative connotations
(Crook, 2005; Friedman, 1970; Karnani, 2010; Smith, 2003; Vogel, 1991; Wang and Juslin,
2011). We then need to consider the diversity of impacts that CSR communication might have
on EA from the job seekers’ perspective.
The age group that shows the deepest sensitivity towards ethical and CSR issues is
comprised by young people, born in or after 1982, often recognized as Generation Y or
Millennial Generation (Ciemniewski and Buszko, 2009; Connell et al., 2012; Howe et al.,
2000; Cone Communications, 2006). The so-called Millennials share a widespread belief that
their responsibility is to make the world a better place (Cone and AMP Agency, 2006). They
are also convinced that companies have a responsibility to join them in this effort (Cone
Communications, 2006), so they are more likely to consider CSR while deciding where to
work (Cone Communications, 2015).
Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to examine how Millennial job seekers’ attitudes
impact perceived CSR-based EA. Having these ideas in mind, we pose the following research
How do Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR influence CSR-based
In order to explore this question, we intend to examine the impact of job seekers’
attitudes towards CSR on perceived CSR-based EA. More specifically, we aim at exploring
CSR as part of the organizational symbolic attributes of EB, and thus assess the effectiveness
of CSR-based EB by measuring the impact that individual attitudes towards CSR have on
CSR-based EA. We construe individual attitudes as comprised by three dimensions, namely
cognitive, affective and behavioural. The cognitive dimension refers to the individual
perceptions of the organization’s (instrumental vs. normative) commitment to the society
(Basu and Palazzo, 2008; Wiener, 1982) .The affective dimension represents the individual
(positive or negative) assessment of critical CSR characteristics (Davis, 1973; Karnani, 2010;
Smith, 2003). Finally, the behavioural dimension refers to the (high or low) individual
engagement in business ethics or CSR issues (Evans and Davis, 2011; McGlone et al., 2011;
Pérez and Rodríguez del Bosque, 2015).
The Polish job market offers an interesting setting to inquire into our research question
and goals. Difficulties in introducing CSR in Poland may find their origins in the country’s
history, where the idea of building a society based on common good has been missing (Filek,
2008). Also, an unbalance between (rather high) human capital and (rather low) social capital
(Czapiński, 2008) may be an underlying reason for the lack of trust in business and high
scepticism towards CSR. Nevertheless, research conducted in the Polish labour market
reveals that the tendency in EB communication had been changing over the years: while in
2006 only 10% of job offers included information about CSR value, in 2010 this figure
almost doubled (Klimkiewicz, 2012).
With the purpose of examining the linkages between individual attitudes towards CSR
and CSR-based EA, we decided to ask job-seeking Millennials. In order to test our
hypotheses, survey data were collected from 339 young job seekers during job fairs. A
number of multivariate analyses based on linear regressions were conducted.
The structure of this article is as follows. The two (second and third) next sections
provide the research background on CSR, employer attractiveness, and individual attitudes
towards CSR. The fourth section is devoted to justify and formulate our research hypotheses.
In the fifth section, the methods of the study are explained. In the sixth section our study
results are described, and the seventh section offers a discussion of our findings. The article
ends with a final conclusion and implications section.
Extant research points at a positive link between CSR and organizational reputation
(Lin et al., 2016; Melo and Garrido-Morgado, 2012). A range of studies support the idea that
job seekers are more likely to pursue jobs from firms that they consider as socially
responsible than from firms with poor CSP or bad reputation (Alniacik et al., 2011; Backhaus
et al., 2002; Behrend et al., 2009; Greening and Turban, 2000; Tsai et al., 2014).
Research on job seekers’ attraction to CSR concentrates on analyses regarding
personal factors, such as gender, age and knowledge on CSR (Albinger and Freeman, 2000;
Arlow, 1991; Barrena-Martínez et al., 2014; Evans and Davis, 2011; Eweje and Brunton,
2010; Fitzpatrick, 2013; Tormo-Carbó et al., 2016). Barrena-Martínez et al. (2014) conclude,
however, that social integration factors – such as collaboration with NGOs, and prior
awareness of CSR – have a higher influence on the positive assessment of CSR and hence on
the attraction and retention of college graduates than personal factors. Therefore, we assume
that it is not only the specific content of CSR communication that may influence job seekers’
responses, but rather their individual attitudes towards CSR itself.
In our investigation, we deal with the challenge of using CSR as part of the company’s
EB communication aimed at attracting job seekers. EB can be defined as ‘the process by
which employees internalize the desired brand image and are motivated to project the image
to customers and other organizational constituents’, what shows its contractual character
(Miles and Mangold, 2004, p. 68).
Similar to product or service branding, EB consists of two dimensions, namely
instrumental and symbolic. While instrumental attributes describe factual and objective
organization’s attributes, such as pay, bonuses, benefits, working hours or location, the
second dimension refers to symbolic meanings that may be associated with the employer
(Lievens and Highhouse, 2003). Accordingly, CSR-based EB may be construed in terms of an
employer branding process linked to the employer’s CSR policy and actions aimed at labour
market differentiation. We propose to explore CSR as part of the organizational symbolic
attributes of EB, and assess the impact that individual attitudes towards CSR have on EA. In
this sense, CSR-based EA reflects the perceived importance of CSR shown by potential job
applicants, as a relevant EB attribute which job seekers may consider – among other job
search criteria. It can be used as a measure for effectiveness of CSR-based EB. In order to
explore how individuals may be influenced by CSR-based EB, we reviewed theories such as
sense-making perspective, person-organization (P-O) fit approach, as well as social identity
A sense-making perspective (Fryzeł, 2011; Weick, 1995) enables us to define CSR in
terms of the individual’s understanding. In Basu and Palazzo’s (2008) words, CSR is ‘the
process by which managers within an organization think about and discuss relationships with
stakeholders as well as their roles in relation to the common good, along with their
behavioural disposition with respect to the fulfilment and achievement of these roles and
relationships’ (Basu and Palazzo, 2008, p. 124). In the case of prospective employees, their
expectations towards potential employers’ CSR policy might also be determined by their
understanding of the role that businesses play in the society. The P-O fit approach is
especially relevant in this context. This approach suggests that job seekers prefer
organizations with attributes that are aligned with their personal characteristics (Cable and
Judge, 1996; Zhang and Gowan, 2012). While trying to achieve a P-O fit, job seekers make
efforts to become part of the organization that they perceive as sharing similar values and
ideas about what the creation of ‘common good’ is. As argued by Bhattacharya and Sen
(2003), the perceived P-O fit may become a source of self-definition, so that the individuals
are more likely to be attracted by corporate identity ‘when it matches their own sense of who
they are’ (Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003, p. 80). Here social identity theory (Dutton and
Dukerich, 1991; Tajfel and Turner, 1979; Van Dick, 2004) provides a good explanation, as it
suggests that the reason for individual choice of a particular brand might be driven by his or
her self-concept related to their membership to certain social groups. Job seekers take notice
about the organizational values and norms and want to test whether they match their own
beliefs (Chatman, 1989). If prospective employees positively perceive the features of the
brand, they are more likely to identify themselves with the employer, so they will value more
the prospect of becoming part of the organization (Backhaus, 2004). This shows that
recipients who are convinced by CSR-messages may be more likely to identify themselves
with this concept and so get attracted by CSR-based EB. Conversely, those who only accept
the economic character of an organization’s input in the society and are rather sceptic towards
holistic views of CSR, may be discouraged and show low CSR-based EA.
After reviewing the concept of EA and different approaches to CSR understanding, we
would like to explore more deeply the individual attitudes towards CSR.
In case of job seekers, who show an intent to pursue a job, we have to consider an
expected psychological contract since an actual one does not (yet) exist. Unlike actual
employees, job seekers cannot comprehensively evaluate the employer’s CSR policies or
programmes. Anyway, applicants can assess the communication on CSR according to their
own positive or negative beliefs and attitudes towards CSR. An attitude is a ‘disposition to
respond with some degree of favourableness or unfavourableness to a psychological object’
(Ajzen and Cote, 2008, p. 289). Therefore, while adopting the job seekers’ perspective, we
need to conceptualize CSR as a psychological object itself. Each attitude would then consist
of three components (i.e., dimensions), namely cognitive, affective and behavioural (Aronson
et al., 2009).
The cognitive dimension is related to the individual perception of the organization’s
commitment to the society. Basu and Palazzo (2008, p. 125) propose, after Wiener (1982),
two types of commitment: instrumental and normative. While the first one is externally
driven, the second one stems from ethical considerations. Instrumental commitment means
that companies consider CSR only in terms of profit maximization, while normative
commitment implies that companies internalize CSR values in terms of obligation and
compliance with social values and norms.
The affective dimension represents the individual (positive or negative) assessment of
critical CSR characteristics. Here we refer to the question of the scope of the organization’s
interest and goals (narrow or broad), such as creating shared value or relations to the state, the
question of ‘profitability’ of CSR, and its impact on competitiveness, trustworthiness of the
CSR image, and general feelings (optimistic vs. sceptic) towards CSR (Davis, 1973; Karnani,
2010; Smith, 2003).
The behavioural dimension refers to the (high or low) individual interest in business
ethics or CSR issues, and willingness to deepen into the CSR topic (Evans and Davis, 2011;
Kleinrichert et al., 2013), as well as individual customer (e.g., buying ecological or socially
responsible products) and volunteering behaviour (e.g., engagement in NGOs) (McGlone et
al., 2011; Pérez and Rodríguez del Bosque, 2015).
After having outlined the framework for analyzing the contents and dynamics of
individual attitudes towards CSR, we would like now to explore how this phenomenon
interplays with CSR-based EA.
In the era of the ‘war for talent’, both practitioners and researchers stress that job
seekers tend to reject employers with bad reputation (Schawbel, 2008). In this context,
younger generations are expected to make employer choices having in mind their ethical and
CSR practice (Deloitte, 2014). As the so-called Millennials comprise the age group that
shows deeper sensitivity towards ethical and CSR Issues (Connell et al., 2012; Howe et al.,
2000; Cone Communications, 2006; Michailides and Lipsett, 2013), we subsequently focus
our analysis on these individuals.
Signalling theory, traditionally used for investigating job seekers’ behaviour, provides
substantial support for exploring the connections between attitudes towards CSR and EA
(Backhaus et al., 2002; Jones et al., 2014; Tsai, et al., 2014). Individuals searching for a job
try to match their expectations towards potential employers with the organizational offer
(Wanous et al., 1992). The organization sends signals about its attributes, such as working
conditions, values and norms (Turban and Greening, 1997), and job seekers use those
attributes as clues: they interpret them as predictors of future employment relations.
Therefore, the communication on CSR may make potential employers more attractive towards
prospective employees (Backhaus et al., 2002).
In order to explain how job seekers become attracted by CSP, Jones at al. (2014)
propose that three signal-based mechanisms affect EA. These mechanisms refer to job
seekers’ ‘anticipated pride from being affiliated with the organization, their perceived value
fit with the organization, and their expectations about how the organization treats its
employees’ (Jones et al., 2014, p. 383). Some young job seekers prefer however challenging
jobs instead of friendly working conditions (People Management, 2006), or are attracted by
corporate values rather than by CSR programmes (Ohlrich, 2015). Understanding CSR as a
sense-making process allows us also to involve the individual’s perspective of how he/she
construes this concept. CSR is not a simple feature, so it is not perceived in the same way by
everyone. Even when Millennials tend to pay attention to corporate ethical issues, the CSR-
based image may not be credible or convincing for them: if it is perceived as dishonest or
merely instrumental, it may even trigger a contrary effect and discourage them from applying
for a job.
We argue, therefore, that CSR signals may positively or negatively influence CSR-
based EA. The question is then what are job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR itself.
Accordingly, we propose the following main hypothesis:
H1. The more favourable the attitude towards CSR from Millennial job seekers, the
higher their perceived CSR-based EA.
We will then analyze this hypothesis having in mind three dimensions of individual
attitudes towards CSR (i.e., cognitive, affective and behavioural), thus further developing
three sub-hypotheses.
According to the cognitive dimension, we differentiate between the instrumental and
normative ways of perceiving companies’ obligations towards society (Donaldson and
Preston, 1995; Wiener, 1982). While the instrumental conception of CSR limits the firm’s
societal responsibilities to a narrow scope and accepts CSR rather as a tool for profit
maximization, the normative understanding implies that companies should internalize CSR
values in terms of moral obligations and compliance with social values and norms. Recently,
it has been found that job seekers with strong socio-environmental awareness do not respond
in a very sensitive way to the economic and legal dimensions of CSR, which are perceived as
fundamental and mandatory for all organizations (Tsai et al., 2014). We propose, therefore,
that individuals who set high ethical and social obligations for business operations will be
more attracted by CSR than those who accept only a narrow (profit maximization) scope of
the company’s responsibilities. Hence, we propose the first sub-hypothesis as follows:
H1.1 Millennial job seekers who perceive CSR in a normative way will show a higher
CSR-based EA than those who perceive CSR in an instrumental way.
The affective dimension of individual attitudes towards CSR relates to the (positive or
negative) emotions developed by job seekers. There is a limited number of studies on how
individual emotions are related to CSR perceptions (Onkila, 2015). The relevance of emotions
in this case may be justified by the results from previous studies on customer, company and
product responses. Research has shown that CSR perceptions are positively linked to the
emotions evoked by the company (Pérez and Rodríguez del Bosque, 2014; Vlachos, 2012).
In addition to the role of positive emotions (e.g., pride, loyalty, belonging), the
relevance of negative emotions (e.g., fear, embarrassment) for understanding how CSR is
perceived should also be considered. Developing the idea that multiplicity of CSR meanings
may raise different kinds of emotions (Friedrich and Wüstenhagen, 2015; Onkila, 2015),
Rupp et al. (2013) argue: ‘individuals are likely to react positively to perceptions of an
employer engaging in socially responsible activities (e.g., community involvement, using
environment-friendly or “green” materials in production) and react negatively to a firm whose
actions are perceived as socially irresponsible’ (Rupp et al., 2013, p. 898). Other studies
reveal that negative perceptions of companies’ motivations also worsen one’s perceptions of
the corporate image and may negatively influence individual behaviour (Becker-Olsen et al.,
2006). Accordingly, job seekers’ positive or negative emotions on how they ‘feel’ about CSR
might influence their decision-making processes concerning the way they respond (i.e., they
are more or less attracted) to CSR signals. Based on the above arguments, we propose the
second sub-hypothesis:
H1.2. Millennial job seekers who positively assess CSR will show a higher CSR-based
EA than those who negatively assess CSR.
In addition, the behavioural dimension of individual attitudes towards CSR must also
be considered for analyzing the impact of job seekers’ CSR attitudes on CSR-based EA.
Research has recently evidenced an important role of socio-environmental consciousness for
understanding job pursuit intention (Tsai et al., 2014). Aspects such as caring about social
issues (e.g., poverty) or environmental problems (e.g., environmental footprint of
manufacturing), have been found to influence individual readiness to work for employers who
show positive CSP (Tsai et al., 2014). The individuals who identify themselves with the core
values of CSR as a part of their own work role definition (Evans and Davis, 2011) seek for an
employer that will match their expectations by reflecting such values in the organizational
culture (Brickson, 2007). Drawing from the above arguments we propose the third sub-
H1.3. Millennial job seekers who show a high engagement with CSR will show a
higher CSR-based EA than those who show a low engagement with CSR.
5.1. Sample
The data collection process was determined by two assumptions. First, investigating EA
implied to ask job seekers who, at the time of data collection, were actively looking for a job
(Tsai and Yang, 2010), as their answers might be highly consistent with their actual attitudes
and behaviours. Second, individual job experiences might determine the way our respondents
thought about the job search process, as well as the importance of CSR in it. Hence, we
concentrated on Millennials who, representing the Y Generation, are expected to be sensitive
towards ethical issues (Connell et al., 2012; Deloitte, 2014), and are already making their first
decisions related to their work life.
Accordingly, data were collected at job fairs held in Cracow (Poland), and at courses
for young job seekers offered at two universities. Respondents were asked to fill in the
questionnaire on their own. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. 339 valid
questionnaires were obtained.
Table 1 shows the sample characteristics. Respondents were mostly undergraduate or
graduate students. Four-fifths of respondents (79.4%) did not work at the time of data
collection, and 61.7% of them were actively looking for a job.
--- Insert Table 1 here ---
As in the study new scales and measures were proposed, before using the questionnaire
for the main research, it was tested on 60 students, and then improved according to the reliability
of the estimation scales. While analyzing data we used statistical exploration: reliability
analysis for constructed scales (Cronbach’s alpha), Pearson’s correlations, and regression.
5.2. Measures
The questionnaire consisted of two sections (see Appendix). The first section of the
questionnaire evaluated Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR, which were measured
through three self-constructed scales. Each of them derived from each of the three dimensions
of attitudes towards CSR. Normative CSR perception derives from the cognitive dimension of
individual attitudes towards CSR, positive CSR assessment comes from the affective
dimension, and high individual engagement with CSR stems from the behavioural dimension.
The normative CSR perception (CSRNormativ) scale is proposed as a semantic
differential in terms of the individual framework of reference on the meaning of (normative
vs. instrumental) organizational commitment towards CSR. The normative vs. instrumental
commitment dichotomy is based on two different CSR approaches based on, respectively,
normative and instrumental stakeholder theory (Donaldson and Preston, 1995). This scale
evaluates the cognitive aspect of attitudes towards CSR while examining six core
characteristics of CSR: fairness, reliable communication, horizon of profit-making,
compliance with law, integration of social and economic goals, and respect for the
environment (Aiman-Smith et al., 2001; Behrend et al., 2009; Crane et al., 2013; Smith and
Langford, 2011; Tsai and Yang, 2010). Each characteristic was measured through a 5-point
bipolar scale (1 - instrumental perception; 5 - normative perception).
Second, the positive CSR assessment (CSRPositiv) scale refers to the affective
component of CSR attitudes, i.e., individual positive or negative feelings towards CSR. This
construct focuses on the individual assessment of the CSR concept, according to the
perception of the consequences that CSR might have for the organization and its stakeholders.
Especially critical aspects that have motivated discussions around CSR in the literature were
used for assessing affective component; for instance: CSR impact on organizational
competitiveness, profit-making and power, CSR support to fulfil the firm’s core
responsibilities, or the boundaries between CSR and state (public administration) activities
(Karnani, 2010; Smith, 2003).
Third, the high individual engagement with CSR (CSREnga) scale assesses the
behavioural component of CSR attitudes. It shows the tendency of individual behaviour
towards CSR, including personal interest for CSR issues, wish of deepening knowledge about
CSR, as well as individual consumer behaviour and citizenship behaviour (e.g., volunteering)
(Cone Communications, 2006; Evans and Davis, 2011; McGlone et al., 2011).
For measuring both of the above affective and behavioural components of attitudes
towards CSR, a 5-point Likert-type scale was used (1 - strongly disagree, 5 - strongly agree).
All scores used for the measures were constructed as means of the factors included.
In the second section of the questionnaire, Millennial job seekers’ perceptions of CSR-
based EA were evaluated through two scales. First, the CSR importance for employer choice
(CSRImportance) describes job pursuit intentions towards those firms that are perceived as
socially responsible. Such intentions are developed throughout the processes of job search,
browsing advertisements, attending recruitment activities, and finally accepting the job offer
(Evans and Davis, 2011; Greening and Turban, 2000; Gully et al., 2013; Judge and Cable,
1997; Ray, 2006).
Second, regarding the tendency to reject a job offer from an employer who does not
fulfil basic CSR requirements (NoCSRReject), the literature offers a broad range of studies
that use organizational descriptions to explore job seekers’ attraction towards organizations
with different CSR orientations (Greening and Turban, 2000; Ray, 2006; Schmidt Albinger
and Freeman, 2000). With this scale, we investigate therefore to what extent job seekers
would be likely to reject a job offer if the company violated CSR values. Respondents were
asked to answer the question on whether they would reject an offer while knowing that the
potential employer does not comply with CSR in each of the six CSR core characteristics
proposed for the cognitive component of job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR.
For both CSRImportance and NoCSRReject scales, a 5-point Likert-type scale was used
(1 - strongly disagree, 5 - strongly agree). Here also all scores used for measures were
constructed as means from the factors included.
The content validity of our measures was ensured throughout our literature review, by
choosing aspects that had been empirically proven in previous studies, or by building upon
highly accepted prior hypotheses related to our constructs (Nunnally, 1978).
Hypotheses were tested through a number of mostly self-constructed scales (see
Appendix). These were used to measure Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR, a
construct that includes the three independent variables, namely CSRNormativ, CSRPositiv and
CSREnga. Each of these scales referred, respectively, to each of the three components of
Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR: the cognitive aspect implying a normative vs.
instrumental CSR perception (CSRNormativ), the affective aspect referring to a positive vs.
negative assessment of CSR (CSRPositiv), and the behavioural aspect concerning high vs.
low individual engagement with CSR issues, (CSREnga). The dependent variable was
measured through our self-constructed CSR-based EA measurement instrument, which
consisted of the following scales: CSR importance for employer choice (sub-variable
CSRImportance) and tendency to reject a job offer from an employer who does not fulfil basic
CSR requirements (sub-variable NoCSRReject). Table 2 shows the reliability of all new
measures used in the research.
--- Insert Table 2 here ---
The conceptual model is shown in Figure 1. The model considers CSR-based EA as
the dependent variable. This consist of two dimensions (CSRImportance and NoCSRReject).
We propose that each of these components of CSR-based EA depends on the individual’s
attitude towards CSR, which is measured by three independent variables (CSRNormativ,
CSRPositiv and CSREnga).
--- Insert Figure 1 here ---
Table 3 presents the correlations between all variables included in the hypotheses. We
can observe that almost all items are correlated and pertain to the same trait, what assures the
convergent validity of the measures (Nunnally, 1978). The only exception appears in the
relation between individual engagement and CSR perception. This result, however, justifies
the differentiation into three components of CSR attitude. For instance, we can observe that
people may differ in perceiving CSR (instrumental vs. normative) while having the same
level of individual engagement with CSR.
--- Insert Table 3 here ---
Multivariate analysis was applied to test H1.1, H1.2 and H1.3. Linear regressions were
conducted (see Table 4). Here the influence that Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards
CSR might have on CSR-based EA was tested.
--- Insert Table 4 here ---
Regarding H1.1, Millennial job seekers with stronger normative perceptions of CSR
are more likely to reject offers from employers who do not comply with basic CSR
requirements. Yet, this cognitive component of Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR
is not significantly related to the importance of CSR for employer choice. This means that
respondents with strong normative perceptions of CSR, although would eventually reject an
offer from a CSR-noncompliant employer, do not pay more attention to CSR while job
searching than job seekers who show less normative (i.e., more instrumental) CSR
perceptions. Therefore, H1.1 is partially accepted.
As for H1.2, connections between positive individual assessments of CSR and both
dimensions of CSR-based EA appear to be significant. Thus, CSR is highly important for
employer choice to respondents who perceive CSR positively, and these respondents are also
more likely to reject a job offer if the employer fails in CSR compliance. Therefore, H1.2 is
fully accepted.
H1.3 provides similarly favourable evidence. Our findings reveal that Millennial job
seekers showing high engagement with CSR are highly likely to both acknowledge CSR
importance during job search, and also reject a job offer if the employer neglects CSR.
Therefore, H1.3 is fully accepted.
According to our results, Millennial job seekers in our sample seem to be attracted by
the CSR-based employer image. These findings support previous evidence showing that CSR
may attract potential employees (Barrena-Martínez et al., 2014; Evans and Davis, 2011;
Greening and Turban, 2000; Jones et al., 2014; Schmidt Albinger and Freeman, 2000; Tsai et
al., 2014). Our hypotheses are mostly confirmed, generally supporting the idea that positive
attitudes towards CSR enhance Millennial job seekers’ CSR-based EA.
We found that all three components of Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR
are significant for their tendency to reject employment offers if the employer does not comply
with basic CSR requirements. Recent research has provided results that are consistent with
our findings. Particularly, Rayton et al. (2015) suggest that CSP is part of a psychological
contract, whereby affective commitment is directly related to both external and internal CSP.
In the authors’ words: ‘breach of internal CSP results in a decline in affective commitment’
(Rayton et al., 2015, p. 369). Besides, two out of the three components (CSR assessment and
CSR engagement) of CSR-based EA are significantly related to CSR importance in the job-
seeking process.
However, CSR (normative vs. instrumental) perceptions towards CSR do not
influence the role of CSR in the job-seeking process. In other words, understanding CSR just
in terms of normative vs. instrumental CSR perceptions does not provide a satisfactory
answer to individual attitudes towards CSR. A possible explanation can be that, when CSR is
treated as a signal (Jones et al., 2009), it may awake different emotions from job seekers
depending on what their expectations are and what they receive from the employer’s
communication. Linking these findings back to the sense-making literature, we see that
individual understandings of CSR may differ according to different types of organizational
identity orientations and preferred types of psychological contract (Basu and Palazzo, 2008;
Brickson, 2007).
Regardless of the way individuals perceive CSP (i.e., normative vs. instrumental
terms), CSP principles may form a part of their own work role definition (Evans and Davis,
2011). On the one hand, those Millennials who perceive CSR in normative terms may get
attracted to the potential employer because of the anticipated pride of being part of an
organization that is providing additional value to the society (Jones, 2014). On the other
hand, other Millennials may perceive EB-related CSR communication in instrumental terms.
This situation can, in turn, lead to two different responses from job seekers. First, some of
them may interpret CSR signals as indicating good treatment of employees (e.g., development
opportunities), and therefore they will gladly accept CSR-based EB as something positive. In
this case, job seekers’ attitudes would impact favourably on CSR-based EA. Second, a
different response would come from those CSR instrumentally-minded job seekers who
expect from an employer a profit-making focus rather than social engagement and values. In
this case, CSR-based EB may awake negative emotions in job seekers, so they may get
discouraged from applying for a job.
Our study contributes to better understanding the influence of Millennial job seekers’
attitudes towards CSR on CSR-based EA. A novel contribution of our study revolves around
the idea that, in addition to the most commonly used approach showing that signals of
prospective employers’ CSP impact job seekers’ intentions, it is also necessary to consider
that the CSR concept itself may provide an essential signal. According to the traditional (CSP
signals) approach, applicants have to recall specific information on CSR policies and
programmes communicated by the employer and evaluate them (Cable and Turban, 2003).
The point is, however, that job seekers might not know the specific details of such CSR
policies and programmes, or might not have enough knowledge to consistently judge actual
CSR practice. Therefore, we show that individual attitudes towards CSR play a key role in
understanding the way applicants perceive CSR signals and eventually influence CSR-based
EA. Results from this study show that the more favourable the CSR attitude by job-seeking
Millennials, the higher their perceived CSR-based EA. In this sense, also the role of emotions
towards CSR requires more attention. Therefore, feelings of negative affectivity (e.g., fear or
embarrassment) may not only encourage individuals to change their behaviour – as it would
be the case of managers who are willing to improve bad CSP (Onkila, 2015). Negative
reactions towards CSR itself may also discourage individuals, as we have discussed above in
the case of Millennial job seekers. Here the distinction between normative and instrumental
CSR perceptions set a novel and helpful context for tackling the question on the impact of
CSR awareness on potential employee attraction (Barrena-Martínez et al., 2014, Evans and
Davis, 2011).
Managerial implications can be derived from our study. Following the above
arguments, we would advise companies to develop a consistent communication strategy on
EB, aimed at attracting the right employees who care about the type of (more or less CSR-
influenced) job-related values. As Millennials tend to follow affective argumentation (Cone
Communications, 2015) and want to be involved in CSR (McGlone et al., 2011), engaging via
e.g., social media, CSR events or games may work for attracting Millennials. Employers
should provide clear information showing how their CSR policies interact with EB
communication strategies, and also improve the consistency between CSR and human
resource management communications and practice. They should not only focus on
statements, but rather on concrete information and explanations (e.g., in form of videos or
infographics) on how does the CSR policy contribute to the firm’s strategy (Becker-Olsen et
al., 2006). For example, MNCs are good at communicating CSR issues, but the gap between
external communication and internal implementation (Baumann-Pauly et al., 2013) might
discourage job seekers, especially in the case of Millennials.
Some limitations of our study must be acknowledged, which in turn point at further
research opportunities. First, our investigation concentrated on the psychological aspects of
Millennials’ attitudes towards CSR, and specifically on how CSR-based EB may (or may not)
attract them as potential job applicants. Nevertheless, we did not deepen into the contents of
EB policies. In this sense, it would be very valuable to explore how individual attitudes
towards CSR impact job seekers’ responses to different CSR practices (Barrena-Martínez et
al., 2014) or company motivations for CSR (Windolph et al., 2014). This could provide to
more specific recommendations related to the contents and practices of CSR-based EB – so
these EB policies consistently develop CSR-based EA. Second, we only surveyed
Millennials, who are assumed to be highly sensitive towards CSR issues. Therefore, further
research could deepen into the differences in CSR attitudes among respondents of different
ages, in order to better understand the nature of the three components of CSR.
Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR
Instrumental CSR Perception
Normative CSR Perception
Companies do not always have to
conform to the accepted moral
principles, because honesty in
business does not always pay
Companies should always operate in a
fair and moral way.
Companies have the right not to
disclose information that could
harm their image.
Companies should always communicate
in a true and transparent way
about their operations.
Companies’ environment is changing so
fast that they should focus on
short term profits.
Companies should always seek long
term profits.
In some cases you can accept illegal
businesses operations.
Companies should always comply with
the law.
Companies should focus on the main
economic objective, which is to
generate profits.
Companies should always seek
synergies between economic and
society goals.
Companies pay taxes, so they are not
obliged to pay extra charges for
the environment.
Companies should always seek to
minimalize their negative
environmental influence.
Socially responsible companies operate both in their own interest and in the
interest of the whole society.
CSR brings profits for organizations.
I am sceptical towards organizations that define themselves as socially
If there were more socially responsible firms people would live better.
Companies should not engage in solving social problems, as it is a state matter.*
Including social and environmental issues in corporate policies enhances company
* Reversed scale.
I am interested in business ethics issues.
Talking to my friends about work I often go into ethical issues (e.g., regarding co-
workers’ or managers’ unethical behaviour).
When a company fails in ethical issues, I stop to buy its products or resign from its
I am an active volunteer.
While shopping, I pay attention to the way the product was manufactured and
I would like to know more about CSR.
CSR-Based Employer Attractiveness
It is important for me to find a job in a company that I consider as socially
While reviewing job offers, I pay attention to whether the company is socially
When I want to get some more information about a concrete employer, it happens
that I read social reports or analyze CSR rankings.
Generally, socially responsible companies, compared to other employers, offer
more attractive working conditions.
Socially responsible companies, in comparison with other firms, are more reliable
When firm B is socially responsible are you more inclined to:
a) follow the job offers from B than from other employers.
b) take part in the recruitment process of B than of other firms.
c) accept the job offer from B than from other firms.
When firm B is socially responsible, but offers 5% lower salary then other firms,
you more inclined to:
a) follow the job offers from B than from other employers.
b) take part in the recruitment process of B than of other firms.
c) accept the job offer from B than from other firms.
I would rather reject a job offering while knowing that the company:
Provides unfair business.
Provides unreliable communication.
Is focused on short-term rather than long-term profits.
Does not comply with the law.
Seeks only to realize economic objectives at the expense of social good.
Operates without respect for the environment.
Aiman-Smith L, Bauer TN, Cable DM. 2001. Are you attracted? Do you intend to pursue? A
recruiting policy-capturing study. Journal of Business and Psychology 16(2): 219–
237. DOI:10.1023/A:1011157116322
Ajzen I, Cote, NG. 2008. Attitudes and the prediction of behavior. In Attitudes and attitude
change. WD Crano, R Prislin (eds.) Psychology Press: New York: 289–311.
Albinger H, Freeman S. 2000. Corporate Social Performance and Attractiveness as an
Employer to Different Job Seeking Populations. Journal of Business Ethics 28(3): 243–
253. DOI:10.1023/A:1006289817941
Alniacik U, Alniacik E, Genc N. 2011. How corporate social responsibility information
influences stakeholders’ intentions. Corporate Social Responsibility and
Environmental Management 18(4): 234–245. DOI:10.1002/csr.245
Amaladoss MX, Manohar HL. 2013. Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility – A
Case of CSR Communication in Emerging Economies. Corporate Social
Responsibility and Environmental Management 20(2): 65–80. DOI:10.1002/csr.287
Arlow P. 1991. Personal characteristics in college students’ evaluations of business ethics and
corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 10(1): 63–69.
Aronson E, Wilson TD, Akert RM. 2009. Social Psychology (7 edition.) Pearson: Upper
Saddle River, NJ.
Backhaus KB. 2004. An Exploration of Corporate Recruitment Descriptions on
Journal of Business Communication 41(2): 115–136. DOI:10.1177/0021943603259585
Backhaus KB, Stone BA, Heiner K. 2002. Exploringthe Relationship Between Corporate
Social Performance and Employer Attractiveness. Business & Society 41(3): 292–318.
Barrena-Martínez J, López-Fernández M, Márquez-Moreno C, Romero-Fernández PM. 2014.
Corporate Social Responsibility in the Process of Attracting College Graduates: CSR In
the Process of Attracting College Graduates. Corporate Social Responsibility and
Environmental Management 22(6): 408-423. DOI:10.1002/csr.1355
Basu K, Palazzo G. 2008. Corporate Social Responsibility: a Process Model of Sensemaking.
Academy of Management Review 33(1): 122–136. DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2008.27745504
Baumann-Pauly D, Wickert C, Spence LJ, Scherer AG. 2013. Organizing Corporate Social
Responsibility in Small and Large Firms: Size Matters. Journal of Business Ethics
115(4): 693–705. DOI:10.1007/s10551-013-1827-7
Becker-Olsen KL, Cudmore BA, Hill RP. 2006. The impact of perceived corporate social
responsibility on consumer behavior. Journal of Business Research 59(1)L 46–53.
Behrend, TS, Baker BA, Thompson LF. 2009. Effects of Pro-Environmental Recruiting
Messages: The Role of Organizational Reputation. Journal of Business and Psychology
24(3): 341–350. DOI:10.1007/s10869-009-9112-6
Bhattacharya, CB, Sen S. 2003. Consumer-Company Identification: A Framework for
Understanding Consumers’ Relationships with Companies. Journal of Marketing 67(2):
76–88. DOI: 10.1509/jmkg.
Brickson SL. 2007. Organizational Identity Orientation: the Genesis of the Role of the Firm
and Distinct Forms of Social Value. Academy of Management Review 32(3): 864–888.
Cable DM, Judge TA. 1996. Person–Organization Fit, Job Choice Decisions, and
Organizational Entry. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 67(3):
294–311. DOI:10.1006/obhd.1996.0081
Cable DM, Turban DB. 2003. The Value of Organizational Reputation in the Recruitment
Context: A Brand-Equity Perspective. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 33(11):
2244–2266. DOI:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb01883.x
Chatman JA. 1989. Improving interactional organizational research: A model of person-
organization fit. Academy of Management Review 14(3): 333–349. DOI:
Ciemniewski W, Buszko M. 2009. Młodzi konsumenci o CSR. Raport z badania ilościowego.
Gemius, FOB.
_Mlodzi_konsumenci_o_CSR.pdf [1 July 2016]
Cone, AMP Agency. 2006. The 2006 Cone Millennial cause study. The Millennial
Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to Change the World.
udy.pdf [1 July 2016]
Cone Communications. 2006. Civic-Minded Millennials Prepared to Reward or Punish
Companies Based on Commitment to Social Causes. CSRwire. [8 January 2015]
Cone Communications. 2015. 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study.
study#download-research [10 November 2016]
Connell JA, McMinn NE, Bell N. 2012. How will the Next Generation Change the Business
World? A Report on a Survey. Insights to a Changing World Journal 2012(4): 100–113.
Crane A, Matten D, Spence LJ. 2013. Corporate Social Responsibility in a Global Context. In
Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context. Social
Science Research Network: Rochester, NY.
Crook C. 2005. The good company. The Economist, 274 (22 January 2005): 3–18.
Czapiński J. 2008. Kapitał ludzki i kapitał społeczny a dobrobyt materialny. Polski paradoks.
Zarządzanie Publiczne 4: 5–28.
D’Aprile G, Talò C. 2014. Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility as a Psychosocial
Construct: A New Multidimensional Scale. Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal
26(3): 153–175. DOI:10.1007/s10672-013-9228-8
Davis K. 1973. The Case for and Against Business Assumption of Social Responsibilities.
Academy of Management Journal 16(2): 312–322. DOI:10.2307/255331
Deloitte. 2014. Big demands and high expectations The Deloitte Millennial Survey. Executive
Deloitte/gx-dttl-2014-millennial-survey-report.pdf. [8 January 2015]
Dobers P, Springett D. 2010. Corporate social responsibility: discourse, narratives and
communication. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management,
17(2): 63–69. DOI:10.1002/csr.231
Donaldson T, Preston LE. 1995. The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts,
Evidence, and Implications. Academy of Management Review 20(1): 65–91.
Dutton JE, Dukerich JM. 1991. Keeping an eye on the mirror: Image and identity in
organizational adaptation. Academy of Management Journal 34(3): 517–554. DOI:
Evans WR, Davis WD. 2011. An Examination of Perceived Corporate Citizenship, Job
Applicant Attraction, and CSR Work Role Definition. Business & Society 50(3): 456–
480. DOI:10.1177/0007650308323517
Eweje G, Brunton M. 2010. Ethical Perceptions of Business Students in a New Zealand
University: Do Gender, Age and Work Experience Matter? Business Ethics 19(1): 95–
111. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2009.01581.x
Filek J. 2008. Przyczyny małego zainteresowania ideą CSR w Polsce. In Społeczna
odpowiedzialność biznesu w małych średnich przedsiębiorstwach, Bąk M. Kulawczuk P
(eds). IBnDiPP, EQUAL: Warszawa.
Fitzpatrick J. 2013. Business Students’ Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility.
College Student Journal 47(1): 86–95.
Friedman M. 1970. The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The New
York Magazine 13 September 1970.
Friedrich E, Wüstenhagen R. 2015. Leading Organizations Through the Stages of Grief The
Development of Negative Emotions Over Environmental Change. Business & Society 3:
1–28. DOI:10.1177/0007650315576151
Fryzeł B. 2011. Building Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Palgrave Macmillan.
Greening DW, Turban DB. 2000. Corporate Social Performance As a Competitive Advantage
in Attracting a Quality Workforce. Business & Society 39(3): 254–280.
Gully SM, Phillips JM, Castellano WG, Han K, Kim A. 2013. A Mediated Moderation Model
of Recruiting Socially and Environmentally Responsible Job Applicants. Personnel
Psychology 66(4): 935–973. DOI:10.1111/peps.12033
Howe N, Strauss W. 2000. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. Knopf Doubleday
Publishing Group.
Jones DA, Willness C, Macneil S. 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility and Recruitment:
Testing Person-Organization Fit and Signaling Mechanism. Academy of Management
Proceedings 2009 (1): 1–6. DOI:10.5465/AMBPP.2009.44265576
Jones DA, Willness CR, Madey S. 2014. Why Are Job Seekers Attracted by Corporate Social
Performance? Experimental and Field Tests of Three Signal-Based Mechanisms.
Academy of Management Journal 57(2): 383–404. DOI:10.5465/amj.2011.0848
Judge TA, Cable DM. 1997. Applicant Personality, Organizational Culture, and Organization
Attraction. Personnel Psychology 50(2): 359–394. DOI:10.1111/j.1744-
Karnani A. 2010. The case against corporate social responsibility. Wall Street Journal, (23
August 2010): 1–5.
Kleinrichert D, Tosti-Kharas J, Albert M, Eng JP. 2013. The Effect of a Business and Society
Course on Business Student Attitudes Toward Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal
of Education for Business 88(4): 230–237. DOI:10.1080/08832323.2012.688776
Klimkiewicz K. 2012. Zastosowanie koncepcji społecznej odpowiedzialności biznesu w
kształtowaniu wizerunku przedsiębiorstwa jako odpowiedzialnego pracodawcy.
Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. Stanisława Staszica: Kraków.
Lievens F, Highhouse S. 2003. The Relation of Instrumental and Symbolic Attributes to a
Company’s Attractiveness as an Employer. Personnel Psychology 56(1): 75–102.
Lin H, Zeng S, Wang L, Zou H, Ma H. 2016. How Does Environmental Irresponsibility
Impair Corporate Reputation? A Multi-Method Investigation. Corporate Social
Responsibility and Environmental Management. DOI:10.1002/csr.1387
McElhaney KA. 2008. Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate
Responsibility and Brand. Berrett-Koehler Publishers: San Francisco.
McGlone T, Spain JW, McGlone V. 2011. Corporate Social Responsibility and the
Millennials. Journal of Education for Business 86(4): 195–200.
Melo T, Garrido-Morgado A. 2012. Corporate Reputation: A Combination of Social
Responsibility and Industry. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental
Management 19(1): 11–31. DOI:10.1002/csr.260
Michailides, TP, Lipsett MG. 2013. Surveying Employee Attitudes on Corporate Social
Responsibility at the Frontline Level of an Energy Transportation Company.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 20(5): 296–320.
DOI: 10.1002/csr.1291
Miles SJ, Mangold G. 2004. A Conceptualization of the Employee Branding Process. Journal
of Relationship Marketing 3(2-3): 65–87. DOI:10.1300/J366v03n02_05
Nunnally JC. 1978. Psychometric Theory. McGraw-Hill Book Company.
O’Donohue W, Nelson L. 2009. The Role of Ethical Values in an Expanded Psychological
Contract. Journal of Business Ethics 90(2): 251–263. DOI:10.1007/s10551-009-0040-1
Ohlrich K. 2015. Exploring the Impact of CSR on Talent Management with Generation Y.
South Asian Journal of Business and Management Cases 4(1): 111–121.
Onkila T. (2015). Pride or Embarrassment? Employees’ Emotions and Corporate Social
Responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 22(4):
222–236. DOI:10.1002/csr.1340
Pérez A, Rodríguez del Bosque I. 2014. An Integrative Framework to Understand How CSR
Affects Customer Loyalty through Identification, Emotions and Satisfaction. Journal of
Business Ethics 129(3): 571–584. DOI:10.1007/s10551-014-2177-9
Pérez A, Rodríguez del Bosque I. 2015. Corporate social responsibility and customer loyalty:
exploring the role of identification, satisfaction and type of company. Journal of Services
Marketing 29(1): 15–25. DOI:10.1108/JSM-10-2013-0272
Ray JR. 2006. Investigating relationships between corporate social responsibility orientation
and employer attractiveness. George Washington University.
Rayton BA, Brammer SJ, Millington AI. 2015. Corporate Social Performance and the
Psychological Contract. Group & Organization Management 40(3): 353–377.
Rupp DE, Shao R, Thornton MA, Skarlicki DP. 2013. Applicants’ and Employees’ Reactions
to Corporate Social Responsibility: The Moderating Effects of First-Party Justice
Perceptions and Moral Identity. Personnel Psychology 66(4): 895–933.
Schawbel D. 2008. Strong Employer Brands Pay Attention to Corporate Social
Responsibility. Personal Branding Blog - Stand Out In Your Career.
corporate-social-responsibility/. [12 November 2015]
Schmidt Albinger H, Freeman SJ. 2000. Corporate Social Performance and Attractiveness as
an Employer to Different Job Seeking Populations. Journal of Business Ethics 28(3):
243–253. DOI:10.1023/A:1006289817941
Smith, NC. (2003). Corporate Social Responsibility: Whether or How? California
Management Review 45(4), 52–76. DOI: 10.2307/41166188
Smith V, Langford P. 2011. Responsible or redundant? Engaging the workforce through
corporate social responsibility. Australian Journal of Management 36(3): 425–447.
Tajfel H, Turner JC. 1979. An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In The social
psychology of intergroup relations, Austin WG, Worchel S. (eds). Brooks/Cole:
Monterey, CA: 33-47.
Top graduates not convinced by CSR message. 2006. People Management, 15(12).
Tormo-Carbó G, Seguí-Mas E, Oltra V. (2016). Accounting Ethics in Unfriendly
Environments: The Educational Challenge. Journal of Business Ethics 135(1): 161–
175. DOI:10.1007/s10551-014-2455-6
Tsai W-C, Yang IW-F. 2010. Does Image Matter to Different Job Applicants? The influences
of corporate image and applicant individual differences on organizational attractiveness.
International Journal of Selection and Assessment 18(1): 48–63. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-
Tsai Y-H, Joe S-W, Lin C-P, Wang R-T. 2014. Modeling Job Pursuit Intention: Moderating
Mechanisms of Socio-Environmental Consciousness. Journal of Business Ethics 125(2):
287–298. DOI:10.1007/s10551-013-1919-4
Turban DB, Greening DW. 1997. Corporate Social Performance And Organizational
Attractiveness To Prospective Employees. Academy of Management Journal 40(3): 658–
672. DOI:10.2307/257057
Van Dick R. 2004. My job is my castle: Identification in organizational contexts.
International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology 19: 171–204. DOI:
Vlachos PA. 2012. Corporate social performance and consumer-retailer emotional
attachment: The moderating role of individual traits. European Journal of Marketing
46(11/12): 1559–1580. DOI:10.1108/03090561211259989
Vogel D. 1991. Business Ethics: New Perspectives on Old Problems. California Management
Review 33(4): 101–117. DOI: 10.2307/41166675
Wang L, Juslin H. 2011. The effects of value on the perception of corporate social
responsibility implementation: A study of Chinese youth. Corporate Social
Responsibility and Environmental Management 18(4): 246–262. DOI:10.1002/csr.250
Wanous JP, Poland TD, Premack SL, Shannon K. 1992. The effects of met expectations on
newcomer attitudes and behaviors: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied
Psychology 77(3): 288–297. DOI:10.1037/0021-9010.77.3.288
Weick KE. 1995. Sensemaking in Organizations. SAGE Publications, Inc: Thousand Oaks.
Wiener Y. 1982. Commitment in organizations: A normative view. Academy of Management
Review 7(3): 418–428. DOI: 10.5465/AMR.1982.4285349
Windolph SE, Harms D, Schaltegger S. 2014. Motivations for Corporate Sustainability
Management: Contrasting Survey Results and Implementation. Corporate Social
Responsibility and Environmental Management 21.5: 272–285. DOI:10.1002/csr.1337
Zhang L, Gowan MA. 2012. Corporate Social Responsibility, Applicants’ Individual Traits,
and Organizational Attraction: A Person–Organization Fit Perspective. Journal of
Business and Psychology 27(3): 345–362. DOI:10.1007/s10869-011-9250-5
Ziek P. 2009. Making sense of CSR communication. Corporate Social Responsibility and
Environmental Management 16(3): 137–145. DOI:10.1002/csr.183
Figure 1. Job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR and CSR-based EA
Table 1. Sample characteristics
Under 18
Over 25
High school
Post-secondary school
Undergraduate Studies
Bachelor/ Engineering Degree
Graduate Studies
Master Degree
N: 339.
Table 2. Cronbach’s alpha for self-constructed measures
Cronbach’s alpha
CSR-based EA:
*p< 0.05 , ** p < 0.01, N = 339, χ2 Pearson’s Corellation, p-value bilateral significance; I indicator receives
values from 1 (instrumental commitment) to 5 (normative commitment), II indicator receives values from 1
(negative attitudes towards object) to 5 (positive attitudes towards object).
Table 3. Pearson’s χ2 correlation matrix
Normative individual perception of
CSRI (CSRNormativ)
Positive individual assessment of
CSRII (CSRPositiv)
High individual engagement with
(High) CSR importance for employer
choice II (CSRImportance)
(High) tendency to reject a job offer
from an employer who does not
comply with basic CSR
requirementsII (NoCSRReject)
Table 4. Multiple regression for Millennial job seekers’ attitudes towards CSR and
CSR-based EA
CSRImportance II: (High) CSR importance for employer choice (n= 339, R2=0.299,
*p<0.05, ** p<0.01)
NoCSRReject II: Tendency to reject job offer from an employer who does not comply
with basic CSR requirements (n= 339, R2=0.157, *p<0.05, ** p<0.01)
1 B Standard Error; 2 Standard B; I indicator receives values from 1 (instrumental commitment) to 5 (normative
commitment), II indicator receives values from 1 (negative attitudes towards CSR) to 5 (positive attitudes
towards CSR).
... Similarly, we will, building on social identity theory and person-organization fit, examine how perceptions of prestige and value fit influence individuals' attraction to social enterprises. Furthermore, person-centred research on organizational attraction also underlines the influence of personal values on individuals' perception of socially responsible practices (Jones et al., 2014;Klimkiewicz & Oltra, 2017). Hence, we include in our study an examination of the effect of individuals' prosocial values on their attraction to social enterprises. ...
... In line with these findings, we assert that people will perceive high value fit with social enterprises. Similar to commercial organizations, who signal their values to job seekers by means of their corporate social responsibility (Klimkiewicz & Oltra, 2017;Waples & Brachle, 2020;Zhang & Gowan, 2012), we assert that social enterprises emit signals about their socially oriented values, which, in turn, will lead to higher perceptions of value fit with social enterprises. ...
... Studies indeed show that people are differentially attracted to organizations in function of their own personality (Schneider, 1987;Schreurs et al., 2009). Individuals with certain types of values are more inclined to pursue employment with companies that are considered socially responsible (Klimkiewicz & Oltra, 2017;Turban & Greening, 1997). Research continues to acknowledge the role of personal value-systems in the attraction-process to an organization. ...
Existing research indicates that job seekers are attracted to organizations demonstrating social responsibility. This seems especially true for commercial enterprises that engage in socially responsible practices, but is challenged in the case of social enterprises. While commercial enterprises stay focused on their primary aim of generating financial revenues when engaging in social responsibility, social enterprises’ social responsibility is primary and at the core of their business. However, the attractiveness of social enterprises on the job market has not been the focus of extant research. This study aims to enrich the academic literature by exploring the attractiveness of social enterprises to job seekers. When studying job seekers’ intentions to pursue a job with a social enterprise, we also examine some of the underlying mechanisms that affect individuals’ attraction process to social enterprises. We perform an experimental design study involving 349 Belgian students about to graduate. The results reveal that participants’ intentions to pursue a job with a social enterprise are significantly lower in comparison to their job pursuit intentions with commercial enterprises. Furthermore, factors relating to personal values, like perceptions of value fit and individuals’ prosocial values, play a significant role in the attractiveness of social enterprises.
... Recent research has confirmed the role of instrumental attributes and symbolic attributes on an organization's attractiveness and considered corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a symbolic attribute. 2,5,6,7 However, previous research has neglected the evolution and change of CSR. Thus, they have failed to adequately consider the reality of CSR in today's globalized world. ...
... As noted above, both aspects of the context, the second dimension, are attractive to participants. However, when asked whether the intangible attributes (e.g. office atmosphere, sincerity, or workplace ethics) or the physical features (e.g. office space, office design, chair and desk, pantry) were more important, 39 voted for intangible attributes, 5 voted for physical features. The rest did not give an immediate response. ...
... CSR affects the organizational attractiveness as a potential employer. 5 During our interviews, the participants gave the impression that they seemed to have a wide understanding of CSR, its related activities, and what firms could benefit from. We identified a consensus that such activities could positively affect their intention to apply for the job, which 15 members confirmed from group A and 19 from group B. Some examples follow. ...
Full-text available
Understanding Generation Z job seekers' expectations and job pursuit intentions can help organizations successfully attract them. However, there is limited research on this, especially for the transition and emerging economies. With these issues in mind, this study focused on two main objectives: (1) to examine Generation Z job seekers' expectations and their job pursuit intention (JPI) in a transition and emerging economy, with samples from Vietnam, and (2) to advance the understanding of instrumental and symbolic attributes in recruitment literature. We apply the interpretive research method to explore the hidden reasons behind generation Z job seekers' expectations and intentions of their job pursuit. Multiple combining questionnaires and group discussions were conducted with Vietnamese final year students soon to enter the workforce. The results showed that the Vietnamese Generation Z pays more attention to the job/organization in terms of intangible attributes (e.g. office atmosphere or workplace ethics) than physical features. Our study also found that Generation Z considered instrumental organizational attributes and symbolic meaning of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Although some studies have examined the Generation Z expectation in the workplace, no studies investigated the JPI of Gen Z job seekers. In addition, most recent studies investigated the Generation Z expectation in the workplace without using any solid, theoretical foundation underpinning human resource management. Therefore, using an instrumental-symbolic framework in recruitment, our study adds to the literature by examining how Generation Z job seekers react to instrumental attributes and symbolic attributes.
With the arrival of the circular economy, increasing numbers of firms gain unique advantages through corporate green image (CGI). This study focuses on the relationship between CGI and employer attractiveness (EA) based on signal theory. It further analyzes the mediating role of green perceived value (GPV) based on internal marketing theory and perceived value theory. The moderating role of susceptibility to normative influence (SNI) between CGI and GPV is also investigated. A total of 131 Chinese job seekers is used as a sample to test the hypotheses by structural equation modeling analysis, Bootstrapping test, and variance analysis. The results demonstrate that: CGI positively contributes to EA; GPV partially mediates the relationship between CGI and EA; SNI moderates the relationship between CGI and GPV. High SNI of job seekers can consolidate the positive relationship between CGI and GPV; When job seekers’ SNI is low, their GPV is at a low level with nothing to do with CGI. This article puts forward the theoretical basis for implementing the circular economy at the firm level and the implications for both academia and corporate practice.
Purpose Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the world are generally found to have a limited interest in wider social issues. SMEs face many barriers in operating in a socially responsible and sustainable manner despite it making a good business sense. This paper explores the barriers and challenges faced by Indian SMEs for engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. Design/methodology/approach The research uses interpretive structural modelling (ISM) to explore the structural relationship among barriers faced by Indian SMEs in their CSR engagement which were identified from the past literature and validated by the experts. Findings The study identified thirteen variables as important barriers resulting in a lower CSR engagement by Indian SMEs. The ISM model indicates that Indian SMEs focus on tactical rather on strategic needs along with their limited information and knowledge about CSR are the main driving forces which keep them away from an active and meaningful CSR engagement. Their limited CSR engagement capabilities, limited need to engage with their workforce and lower CSR perceived benefits also constrain their CSR engagement. The Indian SMEs also do not see a need for CSR engagement because of lower community and governmental pressure. Originality/value The study provides a comprehensive listing of CSR engagement barriers faced by Indian SMEs along with the structural relationships among them. The model developed provides CSR professionals and policymakers an understanding of the important impediments in CSR engagement of Indian SMEs based on their driving power and dependence. This insight will help them in designing initiatives to influence identified barriers to promote CSR engagement by Indian SMEs.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives toward internal and external stakeholders can independently contribute to employee attitudes and behaviors. However, little is known about the joint effects of (in)congruent internal‐external CSR strategies on employee outcomes. Drawing from social exchange theory, we argue that when employees perceive that their organizations excessively favor CSR efforts to external rather than internal stakeholders, it can trigger a psychological contract breach, resulting in increased employees' turnover intention. We utilized a fuzzy‐set qualitative comparative analysis method and the data of 511 employee from various industries in the Philippines to investigate the interaction effects. The results revealed that a congruent CSR strategy with high internal and external CSR perceptions is critical in fulfilling employees' psychological contracts and retaining employees. However, for employees with low perceived internal CSR, a high incongruent CSR perception led to a psychological contract breach and ultimately to high turnover intention. Psychological contract breach weakened the negative joint effect of high perceived internal and external CSR on turnover intention and strengthened the positive effect of high perceived incongruent CSR on turnover intention. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify what attention science pays to CSR communication for the process of career orientation and employer decision-making by the critical sought after top talent. Design/methodology/approach The review is structured as a systematic literature review of the CSR–HRM intersection. In 11 EBSCO online databases one of several “CSR-terms” was combined with one of several “HRM-terms”. Findings Although CSR has long been recognized as a relevant factor for organizational attractiveness (Greening and Turban, 2000) and talent attraction and its importance is reflected in the ongoing “war for talent” (Chambers et al. , 1998) in which (prospective) leaders are considered a critical human resource for corporate success (Ansoff, 1965), few contributions are focusing on successfully recruited future leaders/high potentials. Practical implications There is a knowledge gap about the importance of CSR in high potential recruiting, which influences both resource-strong decisions on the company side and the communication behavior of applicants. Companies only know about a general CSR relevance for employees and applicants. Accordingly, no attention-optimized CSR communication can take place. In the highly competitive battle for the attention of high potentials, this leads to undifferentiated communication formats. At the same time, high potentials may not receive the CSR information of interest to them from an employer at the relevant time and therefore cannot present an optimal fit in the cover letters and thus cannot prove themselves as ideal candidates. Originality/value CSR is not only an obligatory field of communication for companies, but also a special opportunity in recruiting the young value-oriented generations Y and Z. The research on CSR communication in the course of their career decision has not been covered in a review so far, the research situation is thus explicitly addressed for the first time and practical implications for the post COVID-19 employer brand and recruiting communication are addressed.
Full-text available
Bu çalışmanın amacı, işveren markasına ilişkin bilimsel literatürün sistematik bir incelemesini sunmaktır. Bu amaca ulaşmak için Web of Science veri tabanından elde edilen işveren markası ile ilgili toplam 213 makaleden oluşan veri seti bibliyometrik analiz yöntemiyle incelenmiştir. Ülkeler, kurumlar, yazarlar, dergiler, atıflar ve anahtar kelimeler gibi bir dizi gösterge analize dahil edilmiştir. Bibliyometrik analizi görselleştirmek için VOSviewer yazılım programından yararlanılmıştır. Bulgular, işveren markası araştırmalarının yayın ve atıf sayısı açısından 2018 yılından itibaren genel bir artış eğilimi içinde olduğunu göstermektedir. Yayın sayısı açısından Hindistan, atıf sayısı açısından İngiltere lider konumdadır. En üretken kuruluş Hindistan'dan Hint Teknoloji Enstitüsü, en etkili kuruluş Belçika'dan Gent Üniversitesi'dir. İşveren markası daha çok yönetim ve işletme alanında çalışılan bir konudur. Çalışmalarda en sık kullanılan anahtar kelimeler işe alım, insan kaynakları yönetimi, çalışanları elde tutma, işveren çekiciliği ve çalışan adanmışlığıdır. Gelecekteki işveren markası çalışmalarının çeşitli insan kaynakları yönetimi işlevleri, çeşitlilik ve kapsayıcılık, kuşak farklılıkları ve teknoloji ile daha yakından ilişkilendirilmesi beklenmektedir. Sonuç olarak, bu çalışma işveren markası araştırmalarına kapsamlı bir bakış sağlamakta, araştırma alanının entelektüel haritasını oluşturmakta ve gelecekteki araştırmalar için bir yol haritası önermektedir. Abstract: The aim of this study is to present a systematic review of the scientific literature on employer branding. In order to achieve this aim, the data set consisting of a total of 213 articles on employer branding obtained from the Web of Science database was analyzed by the bibliometric analysis method. A number of indicators such as countries, institutions, authors, journals, citations, and keywords were included in the analysis. VOSviewer software program was used to visualize the bibliometric analysis. The findings show that employer branding research has been in a general upward trend in terms of the number of publications and citations since 2018. India is the leader in the number of publications, and England is the leader in the number of citations. The most productive institution is the Indian Institute of Technology from India, and the most influential is the Ghent University from Belgium. Employer branding is a topic that is mostly studied in the field of management and business. The most frequent keywords in the studies are recruitment, human resource management, employee retention, employer attractiveness, and employee engagement. Future employer branding studies are expected to be more closely associated with various human resource management functions, diversity and inclusion, generational differences, and technology. In conclusion, this study provides a comprehensive overview of employer branding research, constructs the intellectual map of the research field, and proposes a roadmap for future studies.
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to compare two groups of business students from Poland and Spain regarding their declared knowledge and readiness to apply the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The research was conducted in 2018 among students of two selected universities: the Faculty of Management at the University of Lodz in Poland (UL) and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Valencia (UV). A literature review was performed to compare the CSR education programs at both faculties and to investigate students’ opinions about CSR. The Chi2 independence test was used to find any statistical differences between the two researched groups. In total, 607 students took part in the study. The findings revealed that UV students declare themselves to be better prepared than UL students to make sufficient CSR-based employment decisions. It was also found that UV students more frequently declared a readiness to take CSR measures such as encouraging the company's management to take an interest in CSR, or to personally promote CSR activities in the company. UV students also declared a willingness to work in a company guided by CSR values and activities even for lower remuneration. The findings may be affected by social as well as economic contextual factors and they make it possible to formulate concrete recommendations on how to improve students' awareness of CSR ideas.
The increasing awareness of global climate change puts more pressure on firms to reduce their environmental externalities. Managers long ignored this responsibility, which may erode business profits, going against their traditional goals. In this study, we examine the effect of top management's extrinsic incentives (i.e., reward‐driven motivation) on corporate environmental innovation strategy (i.e., eco‐innovation) using a large dataset of S&P1500 non‐financial firms for 2000–2020. The results indicate that firms with greater levels of top‐management compensation exhibit higher scores of eco‐innovation engagement. The effect holds after we address the endogeneity problem through the quasi‐natural experiment using the difference‐in‐differences analysis on the event of the Paris Agreement 2015. Our further investigations reveal that such a positive impact of managerial incentives on eco‐innovation is less intensified in the more polluting industries but more pronounced in more innovative ones.
Full-text available
The attractiveness of an employer"s corporate culture has become an increasingly significant factor for qualified personnel when choosing a job. Employer branding offers companies a strategic approach to actively shape their identity, culture and values. Topics such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), diversity, occupational health and safety (OHS), social inclusion and vocational rehabilitation can all be part of an employer"s branding strategy. However, the interrelationship between these subjects has not been adequately addressed by the existing literature. Therefore, vocational rehabilitation as an essential area of human resources and the CSR activity of a company, the strategic fit, as well as their interactions with employer branding have been examined in this paper. The research was based on a literature review, and the selected literature was evaluated following the "strategy as stretch and leverage" principles proposed by Hamel and Prahalad (1993). The results analytically revealed that the integration of vocational rehabilitation into the employer branding strategy can generate real added value, as the effects of vocational rehabilitation are, in many respects, congruent with the objectives of employer branding. More specifically, it can preserve and regain human resources, which consequently makes a positive contribution to employee motivation, mental health and resilience. Additionally, it strengthens and complements both the leadership and communication skills of management, and the company's values and culture. Furthermore, both the internal and external identity, and the image of a caring employer, can be conveyed effectively and authentically, leading to a significant increase in the employer"s attractiveness to qualified potential employees.
Explores how companies engage in CSR activities, how their corporate identity determines the way in which they perceive the stakeholders and, as a result, engage in dialogue-based relations with them.
A model of work attitudes, distinguishing between normative and instrumental processes as behavioral determinants, serves as the framework within which commitment is conceptualized. Commitment is defined as the totality of internalized normative pressures to act in a way that meets organizational interests. Organizational identification and generalized values of loyalty and duty are viewed as its immediate determinants. Thus commitment can be influenced by both personal predispositions and organizational interventions. The role of recruitment, selection, and socialization in affecting members' commitment is discussed.
Sustainable development has received worldwide attention. Recent studies on corporate environmental behavior have called for research from the specific stakeholder’s perspective (i.e., consumer) on the topic of going green. Based on reputation theory, this paper employed a secondary data analysis and three experiments to highlight the influence of environmental irresponsibility on corporate reputation perceived by consumers. Coherent results showed that environmental irresponsibility negatively affected corporate reputation and perceived corporate ethics served as a mediator. Furthermore, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities could alleviate the harmful consequences of irresponsible behavior by moderating the mediating role of perceived corporate ethics in determining the influence of environmental irresponsibility.