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Congruence in Corporate Social Responsibility: Connecting the Identity and Behavior of Employers and Employees


  • Debbie Haski-Leventhal

    () (Macquarie University)

  • Lonneke Roza

    () (Rotterdam School of Management)

  • Lucas C. P. M. Meijs

    () (Rotterdam School of Management)


Abstract The multi-disciplinary interest in social responsibility on the part of individuals and organizations over the past 30 years has generated several descriptors of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee social responsibility (ESR). These descriptors focus largely on socially responsible behavior and, in some cases, on socially responsible identity. Very few authors have combined the two concepts in researching social responsibility. This situation can lead to an oversimplification of the concept of CSR, thereby impeding the examination of congruence between employees and organizations with regard to social responsibility. In this article, we connect two dimensions of social responsibility—identity and behavior—to build a Social Responsibility Matrix consisting of four patterns for classifying the social responsibility of employees and employers: Low Social Responsibility, Identity-based Social Responsibility, Behavior-based Social Responsibility, and Entwined Social Responsibility. The positioning of employers and employees on the same matrix (as determined by internal, relational, and/or external factors) is vital for assessing the level of congruence between employers and employees with regard to social responsibility and for discussing the possible outcomes for both parties. These identity and behavior-based patterns, determinants, and levels of congruence connecting employees and employers form the foundation for the multi-dimensional, dynamic ESR–CSR Congruence Model, as exemplified in a case study. This contribution enhances the existing literature and models of CSR, in addition to improving the understanding of employee–employer congruence, thereby broadening the array of possibilities for achieving positive organizational outcomes based on CSR.

Suggested Citation

  • Debbie Haski-Leventhal & Lonneke Roza & Lucas C. P. M. Meijs, 2017. "Congruence in Corporate Social Responsibility: Connecting the Identity and Behavior of Employers and Employees," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 35-51, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2793-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-015-2793-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Petr Cech & Irena Jindrichovska & Jiri Neubauer, 2018. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Hotel Industry: Empirical Analysis of Transitional Market," International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), vol. 0(1), pages 61-89.
    2. Sora Kang & Su Jin Han & Jounghae Bang, 2018. "The Fit between Employees’ Perception and the Organization’s Behavior in Terms of Corporate Social Responsibility," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(5), pages 1-19, May.
    3. David A. Jones & Alexander Newman & Ruodan Shao & Fang Lee Cooke, 2019. "Advances in Employee-Focused Micro-Level Research on Corporate Social Responsibility: Situating New Contributions Within the Current State of the Literature," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 293-302, June.
    4. Heung-Jun Jung & Mohammad Ali, 2017. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Organizational Justice and Positive Employee Attitudes: In the Context of Korean Employment Relations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-24, October.
    5. Yijing Wang & Vidhi Chaudhri, 2019. "Business Support for Refugee Integration in Europe: Conceptualizing the Link with Organizational Identification," Media and Communication, Cogitatio Press, vol. 7(2), pages 289-299.
    6. repec:ers:journl:v:vi:y:2018:i:1:p:61-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Flint, Daniel J. & Signori, Paola & Golicic, Susan L., 2018. "Corporate Identity Congruence: A meanings-based analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 68-82.


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