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Don't talk the talk, but walk the walk: the role of authentic CSR in fostering beneficial employee outcomes

Marie Servaes (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Huong Nguyen Thi Thu (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Tom Kluijtmans (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Saskia Crucke (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 5 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Organizations implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) to act, or present themselves as, sustainable. Yet, CSR efforts by organizations can be negatively received by stakeholders. The increased skepticism by stakeholders toward organizations' CSR programs has led to a growing interest in the influence of CSR authenticity. The purpose of this study is to provide valuable insights into the complex role CSR authenticity plays in stimulating desirable employee attitudes and behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 482 employees working in the Belgian banking sector allows the authors to test this study’s theoretical model using structural equation modeling (SEM).

Findings

Empirical findings demonstrate that CSR authenticity positively relates to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Extending this notion, we find evidence for organizational identification to mediate the relationship between CSR authenticity and OCB. Further, this study highlights that organizational justice mediates the relationship between CSR authenticity and organizational identification. Finally, the importance of ethical leadership is underlined as a boundary condition to the relationship between CSR authenticity and OCB.

Practical implications

For managers, this study provides insights into the importance of CSR authenticity in fostering positive employee outcomes. It offers guidance on how to incorporate CSR authentically, addressing the importance of the organization's core values and supervisors' alignment with these values.

Originality/value

This study distinguishes itself from existing micro-level research, which mainly focuses on employees' evaluation of the organization's attention to CSR, by investigating the outcomes of employees' perceptions of CSR authenticity. Previous research shows that perceptions of CSR authenticity produce positive outcomes among consumers, but that, so far, we know very little about which specific perceptions or behaviors it might elicit among employees. Furthermore, this study provides evidence for interlinkage between leadership, CSR and beneficial outcomes such as OCB, through the integration of ethical leadership behaviors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to sincerely thank the 9 research assistants who supported the data collection. The authors would also like to thank the editors and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback and helpful suggestions.

Statements and declarations: The authors have no competing interests to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.

Citation

Servaes, M., Nguyen Thi Thu, H., Kluijtmans, T. and Crucke, S. (2022), "Don't talk the talk, but walk the walk: the role of authentic CSR in fostering beneficial employee outcomes", Management Decision, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-11-2021-1515

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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