Corporate Social Responsibility May Affect Employee Well-Being

Topic(s): Off The Wall, organizational reputation
Publication: Research in Organizational Behavior (2012)
Article: Corporate social responsibility as a source of employee satisfaction
Authors: C.W. Bauman, L.J. Skitka
Reviewed by: Thaddeus Rada

In light of the many corporate scandals that have rocked the U.S. over the past several years, awareness of and interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown recently. In some ways, CSR can be thought of as organizational citizenship behaviors at the corporate level; CSR manifests itself in positive behaviors that are not based on profit or the organization’s financial success. Such behaviors might include philanthropic efforts in the community, changes to company policies that minimize the organization’s impact on the environment, and a respect for and adherence to ethical principles that go above and beyond the laws that the organization must follow.

While it has been recognized for some time that CSR contributes to improving overall societal attitudes about corporations, and satisfying shareholders, a new article (Bauman & Skitka. 2012) suggests that CSR may have important impacts on employees at the individual level as well. Specifically, the authors suggest that CSR may help satisfy some important employee needs in the workplace, such as esteem needs, the need for safety (in terms of job security and comfort with the organization’s practices), and the need for a meaningful existence.

The authors suggest a research agenda that will expand on this micro-level (employee-level) perspective of CSR. In the meantime, practitioners would be well-served by emphasizing to organizations that CSR efforts can have an impact on a wide variety of organizational stakeholders, including the employees of the organization itself. Such evidence suggests that, while CSR may cost an organization some additional money, the expense is well worth it.


Bauman, C. W., & Skitka, L. J. (2012). Corporate social responsibility as a source of employee satisfaction. Research in Organizational Behavior, 32, 63-86.