When corporate social responsibility motivates employee citizenship behavior: The sensitizing role of task significance

By: David M. Mayer, Madeline Ong, Leigh P. Tost, Ned Wellman


Ong, M., Mayer, D. M., Tost, L. P., & Wellman, N. (2018). When corporate social responsibility motivates employee citizenship behavior: The sensitizing role of task significance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 144, 44-59. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.09.006

Abstract:

Scholars have proposed that organizations’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts are often positively associated with employees’ organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) and have invoked identity-based mechanisms to explain this relationship. Complementing these perspectives, we develop a CSR sensitivity framework that explains how task significance, a micro-level job characteristic, can sensitize employees to their organizations’ macro-level CSR efforts, thereby strengthening the association between CSR and OCB. Across three field studies, we find that CSR and task significance interact to predict OCB, such that an organization’s CSR is more positively associated with OCB among employees who report higher task significance than among those who report lower task significance. Furthermore, we find support for prosocial motivation as a mediator of this interactive effect, but we do not find evidence for several alternative mediators. We discuss the implications of our findings for the literatures on CSR, job design, and other-oriented approaches to organizational behavior.