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School of Business Administration

Challenging common beliefs on corporate social responsibility

From mayonnaise brands to airlines, more companies are publicly pronouncing their commitments to social and environmental efforts. But new research from management associate professor Kaitlyn DeGhetto finds such corporate social responsibility doesn’t impress everyone.

DeGhetto and her colleagues challenge the commonly held idea that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is universally expected and appreciated by showing that employees who embrace capitalist values might not react positively. 

“In the politically charged world that for-profit firms operate in, leaders should consider how CSR practices influence the behaviors of employees with varying perspectives,” DeGhetto said. “Despite potential reputational benefits, positive employee outcomes, such as decreasing turnover and increasing commitment, are reduced or eliminated when employees value capitalist principles.”

The findings are based on surveys of nearly 200 professionals. The research examines how CSR affects what employees think of their company’s reputation and what impact that has on employee behavior.

Read more in DeGhetto’s paper in Society and Business Review.

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