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Consumers as employees: the impact of social responsibility on quality of work life among Australian engineers

Aaron D Arndt (Department of Marketing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Anusorn Singhapakdi (Department of Marketing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Vivian Tam (Department of Engineering, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate whether consumer values influence work-related attitudes. Employees often feel conflict among different aspects of their lives. Although most extant research has focused on the effect of family values on work attitudes, we investigate whether a fit between employees’ socially responsible consumption orientation (SRCO) and firm corporate social responsibility (CSR) influences employee higher-order quality of work life.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data from 112 members of an engineering association in Australia.

Findings

The results show that employees’ consumer life roles can influence their work-related perceptions. However, contrary to expectations, the positive influence of CSR on higher-order quality of work life is weaker for employees who are more socially responsible consumers.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should examine other industry contexts and cultures. Also, because the SRCO construct is very broad, further research should examine specific social issues.

Practical implications

CSR can be an important strategy for retaining employees, even those with lower SRCO.

Originality/value

This research shows that customer values influence important work-related attitudes, such as higher-order quality of work life and organizational commitment. Furthermore, we show that “fit” between consumption orientation responsibility and firm CSR does not necessarily enhance work-related attitudes because employees high in SRCO likely hold the firm to a different standard of social responsibility.

Keywords

Citation

Arndt, A.D., Singhapakdi, A. and Tam, V. (2015), "Consumers as employees: the impact of social responsibility on quality of work life among Australian engineers", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 98-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-06-2013-0075

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited