CSR by Any Other Name? The Differential Impact of Substantive and Symbolic CSR Attributions on Employee Outcomes

Journal of Business Ethics 157 (2):503-523 (2019)
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Abstract

Employing a time-lagged sample of 371 North American individuals working full time in a wide range of industries, occupations, and levels, we contribute to research on employee outcomes of corporate social responsibility attributions as substantive or symbolic. Utilizing a mediated moderation model, our study extends previous findings by explaining how and why CSR attributions are related with work-related attitudes and subsequent individual performance. In support of our hypotheses, our findings indicate that the relationships between CSR attributions and individual performance are mediated through person–organization fit and work-related attitudes. Additionally, when CSR is perceived as important, substantive CSR is positively related to, and symbolic CSR is negatively related to, perception of fit with the organization. These findings contribute toward our understanding of the complex effect CSR has on employees’ work outcomes. Practical implications and future research directions are discussed.

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