Hypocritical organizations: Implications for employee social responsibility

Nishat Babu, Kenneth De Roeck, Nicolas Raineri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implications of corporate hypocrisy for corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the employee level of analysis remain largely unexplored. Drawing on attribution theory and the sensemaking perspective of CSR, we develop a model that highlights the negative effects of corporate hypocrisy on employees' voluntary contribution to their firm's social responsibility program (employee social responsibility, or ESR), as mediated by symbolic CSR attributions. Moreover, by incorporating the CSR sensitivity framework, we develop a more nuanced model that acknowledges the role of task significance in strengthening the aforementioned relationship. The results from our cross-lagged study first suggest that corporate hypocrisy negatively affects ESR through the intermediary role of symbolic CSR attributions. Second, the findings reveal that task significance moderates the relationship between corporate hypocrisy and ESR, such that both the direct and indirect effects are stronger for employees whose jobs are higher in task significance. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-384
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date15 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2019, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • Attribution theory
  • Corporate hypocrisy
  • Employee social responsibility
  • Sensemaking
  • Symbolic CSR
  • Task significance


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