One Bad Apple: Introducing the Study of iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction Relationship to Moral Disengagement
Wilson, Andrea Hoffmeier
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CitationWilson, Andrea Hoffmeier. 2020. 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 report, “Why employees do bad things: Moral disengagement and unethical organizational behavior” (Moore et al., 2012), I present evidence that corporations should seek to understand and satisfy the social responsibility commitments of their employees. Introducing iSR-CSR Satisfaction into the field of Sustainability, this thesis is a study of employee satisfaction with their employers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) focus, related to their individual social responsibility (iSR) commitments.
Four types of iSR were established, drawing from prior research and authoritative sources. I then created an online survey, using validated questions for employee attitudes and moral disengagement. After fielding the 40-item survey to a broad range of professionals, the final number of complete responses was 273.
My research addressed two related questions. The first question was intended to contribute to trimming future surveys, asking respondents with which iSR types they have the highest level of dissatisfaction in their employer’s focus. The second question asked if this study’s sample showed a correlation of both iSR Satisfaction and perceived corporate social responsibility (PCSR) to job satisfaction and organizational commitment; the former correlation was found in a prior study (Glavas, 2014).
To answer the first question, a simple comparison was used to identify the types of iSR with the highest dissatisfaction response (Figure 4). The results indicated that iSR1 and iSR4 were candidates for future survey trimming, with only 11% and 15% reporting dissatisfaction. The remaining iSR2, focused on healthcare, education and job opportunities, had 30% dissatisfaction reported; iSR3, focused on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), had 23% dissatisfaction reported.
The second question was answered by using Minitab® statistical software, to confirm that this sample produced results similar to the 2014 PCSR Report, with positive correlation coefficient results of 0.543 and 0.574 for PCSR to Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment, respectively. Further, iSR2 and iSR3 had statistically significant correlations with job satisfaction of 0.592 and 0.495, and with organizational commitment of 0.573 and 0.583, respectively.
I hypothesized that iSR-CSR Dissatisfaction would have a negative correlation to the propensity to morally disengage. In other words, the more dissatisfied someone is with their employer’s focus on the social responsibility subjects that are important to them, the higher the likelihood that they will be able to do bad things and live with themselves. iSR2 had a stronger negative correlation to moral engagement, with a Pearson Correlation of -0.207 and iSR3 has a correlation of -0.163.
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.” Focusing solely on the responsibility to shareholders, regulators and customers, a corporation can overlook what matters most to internal stakeholders, the company’s workforce. Unethical behavior was also explored through three case studies (Enron, Volkswagen and Takata), revealing that a few apples can cause the barrel to ignite. The consequences of moral disengagement can be tragic, a matter of life and death.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365604