One Bad Apple: Introducing the Study of iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction Relationship to Moral Disengagement
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CitationWilson, Andrea. 2019. One Bad Apple: Introducing the Study of iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction Relationship to Moral Disengagement. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractAs the saying goes, “one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.” Building on the seminal 2012 report, “Why employees do bad things: Moral disengagement and unethical organizational behavior” (Moore, et al), I present evidence that corporations should seek to understand and satisfy the social responsibility commitments of their employees.
This thesis is a study of employees’ satisfaction of their employers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) focus, related to their individual social responsibility (iSR) commitments, introducing iSR-CSR Satisfaction into the field of Sustainability. Incorporating the most ubiquitous iSR into CSR Strategy has the potential to promote ethical behavior, increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Unethical behavior is explored through three case studies: Enron, Volkswagen and Takata. The results of bad behavior ranged from company downfall to criminal charges, and in the worst case, loss of life.
In the Takata case, a face is put on the tragic impact of unethical behavior, with the sixth U.S. victim of the Takata airbag failures. Carlos Solis, a 35-year old father of two teenagers had a minor fender-bender and the airbags deployed. A hockey puck sized metal projectile had sliced into his neck and lodged in his spine. Carlos bled to death on the scene. Considering consequences from tragic to costly, corporate executives need to better understand what might predict behavior in opposition to stated corporate values.
iSR-CSR Satisfaction is a novel concept that I present in this study, which will hopefully provide a predictive tool, as this research continues. Focusing solely on the responsibility of the corporation to shareholders, regulators and customers can result in overlooking what matters most to internal stakeholders, the company’s workforce.
Preventing iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction is one goal. This study also demonstrates that increasing iSR Satisfaction is important, because a positive correlation to job satisfaction and organizational commitment was discovered. Going forward, I intend to collaborate with other experts, in conducting iSR-CSR Satisfaction research within organizations. The next phase, taking the research into organizations has been prepared, with direction on trimming the instrument, and demonstrating the value of optimizing benefits of iSR Satisfaction, as well as mitigating risks of dissatisfaction. Future research may demonstrate iSR-CSR Satisfaction has the potential to encourage discretionary effort, increase employee retention and position a company to become an employer of choice. Understanding iSR within the workforce is also recommended to corporate strategists, to ensure that sustainability goals include the issues most important to employees.
“iSR”, the unique SR thumbprint of each individual, is defined and examined in this thesis. I did find a relationship between iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction and moral disengagement. Corporations seeking to understand these dynamics can also help employees assess and galvanize their personal values. As one respondent for this survey commented, the questions “made me consider priorities.”
Cultivating moral engagement amongst key employees, from executives to engineers in critical roles, is especially important. Bad apples in these types of roles can cause the barrel to ignite. Consequences of neglecting organizational risks of moral disengagement can be tragic, a matter of life and death.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365398
- DCE Theses and Dissertations 
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