Purpose: This study examines the effects of a firm's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative on its employees' organizational attachment and intent to leave. We propose that employees' perceived authenticity of their firm's CSR activity mediates the effects of a firm's CSR initiative on employees' attachment to the firm and intent to leave. We also hypothesize that employees understand the authenticity of their firm's CSR initiative based on internal and external attribution mechanisms. We propose that internal attribution enhances authenticity, while external attribution reduces it. Methodology/approach: We surveyed a sample of 450 employees from 38 Korean companies that were included in the 2009 Dow Jones Sustainability Index Korea (DJSI Korea). To test the theoretical model, we employed a linear structural equation modeling which allows the causal estimation of theoretical constructs after taking into account their measurement errors. Findings: As predicted, internal attribution significantly increases employees' perceptions of their firm's CSR authenticity, whereas external attribution significantly reduces such perceptions. Employees' perceptions of authenticity, in turn, increase their affective attachment and decrease their intent to leave. In addition, the effects of the two attribution mechanisms on organizational attachment and intent to leave were mediated by employees' perceptions on authenticity. Research limitations/implications: Research on authenticity has been case studies or narrative ones. This is one of the first studies investigating the role of authentic management empirically. Practical implications: We demonstrate that a firm's CSR initiative is a double-edged sword. When employees perceive inauthenticity of their firm's CSR initiative, the CSR initiative could be detrimental to employees' attachment to the firm. This study calls attention to the importance of authentic management of CSR. Social implications: Informational transparency through social network services become the foundational reality to the contemporary management. To maintain competitive edge in this changing world, every stakeholder of a firm including managers, employees, customers, shareholders, government, and communities should collaborate and help each other live the principle of authenticity.
- Affective attachment
- Corporate social responsibility
- Intent to leave