Arbeitstitel EN The negative aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility: a literature review

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Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftswissenschaften für Ingenieure und Naturwissenschaftler


  • Miriam Kurth

Corporate social responsibility has never been more important for the long-term survival of companies. Earlier CSR studies focused primarily on organizations rather than individuals. Since 2010, the psychological microfoundations of CSR have increasingly been analyzed, i.e., how individuals perceive CSR and how this influences their behavior and attitudes. In this context, the influence of perceived CSR performance is mainly seen as positive, as it reinforces positive employee behaviors and reduces negative behaviors and attitudes. However, the downsides of CSR are strongly neglected.

The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the current state of research on the downside of CSR and to answer the following questions, among others:
1. to what extent does employees' perception of CSR reinforce negative behaviors or attitudes?
2. what mechanisms mediate between employee perceptions of CSR and negative reactions?

Relevant literature:
1. Gond, J.-P., El Akremi, A., Swaen, V., & Babu, N. (2017). The psychological microfoundations of corporate social responsibility: A person-centric systematic review. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(2), 225–246.
2. Aguinis, H., & Glavas, A. (2012). What we know and don’t know about corporate social responsibility: A review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 38, 932–968.
3. List, J. A., & Momeni, F. (2021). When Corporate Social Responsibility backfires: Evidence from a natural field experiment. Management Science, 67(1), 8–21.´
4. Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104, 333–339.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), micro-CSR, employee perceptions, dark sides of CSR