The influences of CSR practices on employees' perceptions of the organisation
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AbstractResearch Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Increasingly, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become a significant feature of business activities, and their impacts have received growing attention in both the practitioner and academic communities. Organisations have adopted CSR purposefully to manage their relationships with stakeholders and to enhance their legitimacy. However, considering that employees contribute directly to an organisation’s success, knowledge is scarce on the processes through which they perceive the organisation’s CSR practices and how they use these to construct and develop their understandings of the organisation. This signifies that one underutilized approach to understanding some of the potential costs and benefits of CSR for organisations is to investigate the impacts of CSR on their employees. This research, therefore, intends to improve the understanding of how employees perceive an organisation’s CSR activities and how this influences their relationships with the organisation. To illustrate how an organisation’s identity is viewed externally and internally, and how it is affected by its CSR practices, we need to develop our understanding of the interrelationships between CSR and organisational identity and organisational image. To achieve these aims, this research is designed as an exploratory case study, including qualitative fieldwork, encompassing semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis (e.g., of CSR documents and reports and mission and vision statements). The findings revealed that an organisation’s external CSR initiatives do not necessarily serve to improve the employees’ perceptions of the organisation, rather they can contribute to cynicism among employees when they do not find the organisation’s CSR activities authentic. Employees also do not consider their organisation’s CSR activities as image enhancing when they believe that they are not designed to deliver meaningful benefits to the community. This research also enhances our knowledge with respect to the relationships between identification and identity work by illustrating how employees adjust their perceptions and relationships with an organisation. This research has helped to show that the focus of an organisation’s CSR can be used to understand how organisational-level phenomena are perceived by employees, and subsequently result in individual-level outcomes.