Unpacking the mechanism by which corporate responsibility impacts stakeholder relationships
Hillenbrand, C., Money, K. and Ghobadian, A. (2013) Unpacking the mechanism by which corporate responsibility impacts stakeholder relationships. British Journal of Management, 24 (1). pp. 127-146. ISSN 1467-8551
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2011.00794.x
Most research on corporate responsibility (CR) has investigated CR from the perspective of organizations, often focusing on how organizations define, manage and implement CR to gain benefits or competitive advantage. The benefits of CR for organizations are, however, often said to be achieved through increased support of stakeholders. Despite this, limited attention has been given to understanding CR from the perspective of stakeholders and, in particular, the mechanism by which CR drives stakeholder support. This study addresses this deficit. Building on advances in the application of psychological theories to the field of management, the research develops and empirically tests a theoretical model of how CR-related experiences and beliefs drive stakeholder trust and positive intent. The research is conducted with customers (n = 708) and employees (n = 359) of a service organization in the UK that introduced a range of CR-related activities into their business. The findings contribute to literature by empirically demonstrating (a) the impact of CR-related experiences on the development of beliefs about, and trust towards, the organization; (b) the importance of ‘others-related’ CR experiences even in the presence of ‘self-related’ CR experiences; and (c) the role of beliefs as partial mediators in how experiences of CR, both ‘self-related’ and ‘others-related’, translate into trust and positive intent.