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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 August 2022

Yassin Denis Bouzzine and Rainer Lueg

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize how past corporate social responsibility (CSR) affects the occurrence of organizational misconduct by the means of moral licensing.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize how past corporate social responsibility (CSR) affects the occurrence of organizational misconduct by the means of moral licensing.

Design/methodology/approach

To this end, the authors conduct a conceptual review and develop a framework illustrating how moral credits and moral credentials (moral licensing) may institutionalize irresponsibility and lead to subsequent misconduct.

Findings

The authors propose a conceptual framework that describes the relationship between past CSR and organizational misconduct by the means of moral licensing. Based on initial literature-based findings, this paper provides confirmatory evidence for the authors’ framework and illustrates that past CSR might be used as a moral licensing tool that eventually fosters the occurrence of organizational misconduct.

Research limitations/implications

The authors propose future researchers account for the moral licensing effect when examining the antecedents of misconduct and explore the potential moderators of this effect.

Practical implications

The authors recommend that organizations establish management control systems that specifically address the issue of moral licensing when evaluating CSR initiatives. The authors also propose that organizations should adhere to a consistent CSR strategy that potentially fosters the selection of moral leaders who are not prone to moral licensing.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first to connect corporate social responsibility, moral licensing and organizational misconduct from a conceptual perspective.

Details

Organization Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2753-8567

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