The Influence of Organizational Context Characteristics on the Relation between Perceived Corporate Social Responsibility and Socially Responsible Behavior; A Multiple Case Study in the Apparel Industry

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The aim of this research is to gain insights into the role of organizational context characteristics on the relation between perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible behavior (SRB) of purchasing employees in the apparel industry by doing a multiple case study of four comparable cases. The topic of CSR is given increased attention to, especially in the apparel industry, an industry with labor-intensive consumer production of garment. The industry has a major impact on society because of its raising number of people working in it and its pollution to the environment. Therefore, CSR, that in general means taking into account the well-being of society and the environment at the organizational level, should prevent the negative effects that organizations in the apparel industry have. However, it can be argued that CSR is not conducted on the organizational level but by the employees on the individual level. Socially responsible behavior on the individual level is referred to as SRB. SRB means making discretionary decisions in order to propose and carry out initiatives enhancing the social impact of the organization as a whole by doing good and avoiding harm. It is argued that employees, who work for an organization that sets socially responsible objectives, are inclined to act according to those objectives or that human in general prefer to do good based on what they perceive their organization engages in regarding CSR. In this research, the relation between perceived CSR and SRB appeared to exist because of the above two reasons. Besides, it is argued that an organization stimulates or constrains the desire to engage in SRB by providing conditions to involve and engage in it. In this research, it appeared that the interrelatedness of the context characteristics of professional qualification, connection and information, together with regulatory tasks or autonomy influences the relation between perceived CSR and SRB. A combination of one of the first three characteristics with one of the last two characteristics provides this influence. Besides, according to purchasing employees in all the four cases, it appeared that the more these context characteristics are experienced, the stronger the influence will be. Furthermore, professional qualification, connection, information and long-cycle tasks as isolated context characteristics have a direct effect on only perceived CSR and autonomy has a direct effect on only SRB. So, this research shows that according to the four cases, the interrelatedness of professional qualification, connection and information, with regulatory tasks or autonomy are of explanatory relevance to influence the relation between perceived CSR and SRB.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen