Linking Work Design and Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Exploratory Model for the Interdependency of Work Characteristics and Corporate Social Responsibility Orientation



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Driven by the demands of drastic changes in today?s nature of work due to globalization and technological advances, researchers have continually revisited, redesigned, and restructured work design processes in a quest to identify the key characteristics that can result in desired organizational outcomes. Specifically, in current times, organizations are looking to develop socially responsible outcomes, otherwise referred as corporate social responsibility (CSR). A possible link between work design and CSR has been postulated by researchers, but few studies have emerged where the associations between work design and CSR factors are examined. The purpose of this study was to explore the link between work design and CSR using a work design-CSR conceptual model that was developed based on previous literature. The model depicted relationships between work design factors and CSR factors. Work design factors included work characteristics and worker characteristics. Work characteristics were measured using task, knowledge, social, and contextual characteristics; while worker characteristics were measured using personality traits. CSR Orientation (CSRO) was used as a reflective indicator of CSR at the individual level. The study sample consisted of 941 job incumbents of a public education institution in Texas. The data were collected using an online survey that included the work design questionnaire, the short Big Five Inventory, and the CSRO questionnaire. The model was tested using Structural Equation Modeling. Based on the results, a significant association between work characteristics and CSRO factors were obtained. As hypothesized, associations were found between task characteristics and profit CSRO, and between social characteristics and legal CSRO and philanthropic CSRO. The knowledge characteristics were found to have negative association to philanthropic CSRO. The findings also suggest that jobs that are high on problem solving and job autonomy had a negative association to philanthropic CSRO. Similarly, as the job complexity increased, individuals? orientation towards profit making decreased, and information processing was found to be linked to legal compliance. Research and practice implications of these results are discussed.