The influence of corporate social responsibility on an employee's sense of belonging
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has increasingly become identified as a societal expectation of companies around the world. The concept has not only risen in significance, but its impacts and potential benefits have become widely recognised by the organisational literature as well as managers. As a result, the influence of CSR practices have been discussed in regards to the numerous stakeholders that hold a vested interest in a company. However, the literature has been predominantly focused on the influence of CSR on external stakeholders such as: shareholders, customers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the general public. As such, the attention attributed to the internal stakeholder group of employees, has been relatively underdeveloped. While focus on this area has begun to emerge throughout the literature, there continues to be a lack of attention given to the effects of CSR on an individual’s sense of belonging within the organisation. As a result, there is a lack of understanding on the nature and extent of this relationship within the existing literature. This qualitative, interview-based study of fourteen respondents, presents results that provide a greater understanding of the relationship between CSR and an individual employee’s sense of belonging. The results uncover the consequences of an organisation’s CSR initiatives on its employees and discusses its influence over fostering a sense of belonging. The findings illustrate that significant impacts upon an employee’s sense of belonging include generating a sense of pride in the organisation, promoting bottom-up, employee-driven initiatives and establishing social relationships amongst colleagues. The findings also recognise the similarly unexplored potential for this influence on employee belonging to be negatively perceived should the value of CSR be overleveraged with external stakeholders. The development of a framework to present the linkages and interconnections between these ideas are able to generate greater understanding of the relationship. The research concludes with practical implications for organisational management to recognise the influence and power to benefit its employees, and ultimately the wider entity, through the implementation of CSR. For a business strategy whose primary implications are concerned with the influence on external stakeholders, this study provides deeper understanding of the unexplored relationship between CSR policies and its influence over an individual employees sense of belonging.