CSR and Sustainability Get Closer Scrutiny in New Academic Research

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CSR sometimes has the unintended effect of triggering irresponsible behavior. That’s the surprising finding from a recent study by the London Business School and the University of California, Riverside. It reports that after engaging in socially responsible behaviors, some companies are more likely to act unethically in the future, because their corporate leaders feel that they've accumulated "moral credits" by doing good deeds. That’s one of the unexpected conclusions in a special section of articles published in the Winter issue of Personnel Psychology. The online research journal notes that few studies of CSR and sustainability have been done in the fields of human resources and organizational behavior. So its Winter issue presents articles that focus in-depth research on CSR in the HR and OB areas. The reason for such focus is clear. The majority of scholarly research has dealt with the macro level of analysis, addressing regulatory elements such as laws and standards, factors shaped by society, consumers, and stakeholders, and, more recently, the relationship between CSR and financial performance. To achieve a more comprehensive understanding of CSR, researchers are incorporating HR/OB theories and empirical methods, what is called the micro foundations of CSR. Personnel Psychology’s Winter issue brings together research into both micro- and macro-level processes relevant to CSR and its execution. Such increasing attention by academics should yield more, better answers to the important questions being asked about CSR and sustainability. I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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