2.1. Perceived CSR and Organizational Commitment
CSR requires companies to do more than they are obligated to under applicable laws governing product safety, environmental protection, labor practices, human rights, community development, corruption, and so on. It implies that the companies should consider not only the interests of shareholders, but also other stakeholders. CSR is a relatively modern concept and, over the years, has been progressively developed. CSR has been defined varyingly. A widely used definition of CSR is that it goes beyond compliance and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law” [8
]. For the attributes of CSR, the four-dimensional conceptual model suggested by Carroll [9
] is widely accepted, according to which, firms have economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities. Besides, the companies should also focus on more external CSR practices, such as environmental protection [10
] and stakeholder relations [12
]. Accordingly, we use the CSR practices with the following four attributes in this study: environmental CSR, philanthropic CSR, ethical CSR, and stakeholder relation CSR practices. The CSR practices used in this study are based on employees’ perceptions because organizational behavior theory suggests that employee perceptions of events or activities influence the employees’ attitudes and behaviors even more than the events themselves [15
]. We define the perceived CSR practices as the degree to which employees perceive a company to support the CSR related activities.
The concept of organizational commitment has been growing in popularity in the literature on industrial and organizational psychology [16
]. According to Porter [17
], organizational commitment refers to the psychological attachment or affective commitment formed by an employee in relation to his identification and involvement with the respective organization. O’Reilly [18
] similarly defines organizational commitment as “an individual’s psychological bond to the organization, including a sense of job involvement, loyalty, and belief in the values of the organization”. The concept of organizational commitment has been developed by many scholars. One of the more comprehensive ones describes organizational commitment as a tri-dimensional concept, characterized by the affective, continuance, and normative dimensions [19
Social identity theory suggests some theoretical linkages between employee perceptions of CSR practices and organizational commitment. According to the social identity theory, the individuals’ views are influenced by their memberships of social organizations, including the organizations for which the individuals work [20
]. Individuals attempt to establish or enhance their positive self-concept by comparing their own as well as their group’s characteristics with other individuals and groups [20
]. Favorable comparisons lead to an enhanced self-concept. Social identity theory, therefore, hypothesizes that individuals are happiest when they associate themselves with organizations with positive reputations, because this association will enhance their self-concept [23
]. If an organization attempts to engage in CSR activities, its employees can be proud of being members of such an organization. The employees can feel that their organization cares about their present and future; even when it is not a profitable decision for the organization, at least in the short run. With the increasing attention of people to the CSR problems in the recent times, people working for such an organization can feel an increasing commitment to it. More recently, it has been suggested that employees’ perceptions of a firm’s ethics, values, and social responsiveness play a significant role in shaping their perceptions of attractiveness toward specific organizations [13
]. There is also some empirical evidence to support this positive relationship between perceived CSR practices and organizational commitment [14
]. Thus, based on the social identity theory and previous studies, we propose the following hypothesis:
2.2. Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Organizational Performance
Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) has been studied since the late 1970s. Over the past three decades, interest in OCB has increased substantially. Dennis Organ is generally considered the father of OCB. Organ [30
] defines OCB as “individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization” [30
] (p. 4). OCB can be examined using five dimensions, such as altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy, and civic virtue. Some studies also extend Organ’s concept to include more items [31
]. Other examples of OCBs of employees include cooperating with others, orienting new staff, volunteering for extra work, and helping others in their jobs [33
CSR practices relate to OCBs in terms of social identity theory, which suggests that the perceptions of an organization’s identity largely affect the strength of employees’ identification and their subsequent citizenship behavior inside the organization. Dutton et al
] suggest that the better reputation employees make with their organization, the more they identify with it, which eventually affects their organizational behavior (e.g., OCBs). Some studies also provide the empirical evidence [34
]. It is thus very likely that fair demonstration of CSR practices by an organization will positively influence individuals’ citizenship behavior toward the organization. Some previous studies also empirically support this positive relationship (e.g., [33
]). Thus, we propose the following hypothesis:
Moreover, a number of previous studies also investigate the relationship between employees’ attitudes and their behaviors. O’Reilly and Chatman [37
] found a strong positive relationship between organizational commitment and citizenship behavior. The same relationship could be supported in other previous studies (e.g., [38
]). Based on the previous studies, we propose the following hypothesis:
Organizational commitment is an important job-related outcome at the individual level, which may have an impact on other job-related outcomes, such as turnover, absenteeism, job effort, and work performance [39
]. Cohen [16
] states that organizations whose members have higher levels of commitment show higher performance and productivity, and lower levels of absenteeism and tardiness, which in turn improves the organizational performance. Previous studies also identify a positive correlation between organizational commitment and organizational performance [40
]. Thus, we propose the following hypothesis:
Even if OCB, as personal and volunteer behavior, is not mentioned directly in the official rewards system of an organization, it contributes to performance and efficiency in an organization [42
]. Therefore, successful organizations need employees who will do more than their usual job duties and provide performance beyond expectations. Multiple studies and meta-analyses have been conducted to examine the relationship between OCBs and organizational performance and/or success [43
]. These researchers found a positive and significant relationship between overall OCB and performance at the organizational level. In addition, Nielsen et al
] found that similar patterns of this relationship existed for each dimension of OCB, such as civic virtue, sportsmanship, altruism, conscientiousness, and courtesy. Based on these previous studies, we propose the following hypothesis:
In addition, some theories support the positive relationship between CSR and a firm’s performance. For instance, the “resource based view” (RBV) of the enterprise [47
] suggests that sustainable competitive advantages gained from implementation of CSR practices, procurement of resources, and development of skills result in a product that cannot be imitated immediately by the competitors. However, in the empirical studies, prior findings are largely inconclusive about the relationship between CSR and performance outcome, reporting positive, neutral, and even negative associations [1
Such inconsistent results on the relationship between CSR practices and corporate performance may stem from a variety of reasons. One possible reason is that there are some mediating variables in this relationship. Based on this argument, we consider that the employees’ organizational commitment and citizenship behavior might be considered as mediators in the relationship between CSR and firm performance. Thus, based on the RBV theory and the role of employees, we propose the following hypotheses:
H6: Perceived CSR activities have a positive impact on organizational performance.
H7: Employees’ organizational commitment mediates the relationship between CSR and organizational performance.
H8: Employees’ organizational citizenship behavior mediates the relationship between CSR and organizational performance.
Based on the proposed hypotheses, the conceptual model of this study is presented in Figure 1
The structural model.
The structural model.