Employees’ perceived benefits from participating in CSR activities and implications for increasing employees engagement in CSR

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The involvement of employees in a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR program) is one of the key factors for its success. Hence, it is important to understand employees’ reactions to participatory CSR activities. The purpose of this paper is to examine what kinds of benefits employees perceive from participating in CSR, to identify varying levels of participation and to discuss the reciprocal relationship between the perception of benefits and participation. Design/methodology/approach: Based on semi-structured interviews with employees, the structuring content analysis resulted in a differentiated examination of perceived benefit clusters (classified as functional, emotional and meaning and morality) and in a clustered exploration of varying levels of participation (cognitive and behavioral). Findings: The findings reveal that employees perceived all three clusters of benefits in relation to no/low, passive, active and enthusiastic levels of participation. The data provide insights into the relationship between perceived benefits and varying levels of participation, with a balanced and differentiated perception of benefits seeming to relate to higher levels of participation. However, employees may also benefit without a behavioral form of participation, for instance, from an improved team spirit. Originality/value: Due to its methodological approach, this empirical study provides a rich picture of employees’ benefits according to varying levels of participation. The paper contributes to current CSR literature by examining self-oriented benefits, through identifying differing levels of participation, and by discussing their reciprocal relation. These findings contribute to research and practice through the implications for promoting sustainability approaches within companies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 23.05.2019