The Governmentality Dilemma of Explicit and Implicit CSR Communication

We are pleased to welcome authors Mette Morsing and Laura J Spence who published an article titled “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and small and medium sized enterprises: The governmentality dilemma of explicit and implicit CSR communication” in Human Relations. The article will be free to read for a limited time. Below they reflect on the impact and significance of their research.

huma_71_2.coverIt is often argued that it benefits an organisation to communicate about its corporate social responsibility (CSR) engagement. CSR communication is said to enhance the organisational reputation among external stakeholders and create pride and loyalty among internal stakeholders. In this paper we challenge the benefits of CSR communication, focusing on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). We argue that owner-managers in smaller businesses appreciate an informal, face-to-face and non-visible communication style. They don’t on the whole like to formalize and broadcast their corporate social responsibility engagement, preferring to just get on and ‘do it’. We refer to this as ‘implicit CSR communication’. They are not likely to use the language of CSR since it is explicitly corporate, but might very well practice small business social responsibility – just not shout about it. However, SMEs are currently expected to communicate more strategically and conspicuously about their CSR activities in their role as suppliers to large firms. Large firm customers commonly seek to meet their own compliance standards by requesting reports and validation of CSR engagement in their supply chain. We refer to this approach which is common in large firms as ‘explicit CSR communication’.

Finding themselves caught in between their own preference for implicit CSR communication and the pressure for more explicit CSR communication, we discuss how SMEs have to navigate three resulting tensions relating to their authenticity, values and identity.

First, asking for explicit CSR commercialization requires them to effectively ‘sell’ their ethics (we call this authenticity commercialization). This implies that SMEs experience a tension when they have to employ their implicit core values for external branding purposes.

Second, rather than look to their own values as guidance, SMEs are required to prioritise and adopt those of their customers. This value control implies SME owner-managers feel that externally defined requests for certain elements in their CSR reporting are imposed upon their own internally held values. Third, rather than looking to their local reputation and community identity as the foundation of their business, SMEs are being asked to identify with the global supply chain and take some responsibility for correspondingly global CSR issues. This identity disruption means that the SME’s identity becomes caught between local and global value orientations.

As a result of these three tensions, the seemingly positive action by a large customer to require explicit CSR communication by their SME suppliers becomes a point of tension for the authenticity, values and identity of the smaller firm.  These may be easily resolved in some cases but in others is a further example of large firms using the power they have over smaller suppliers for their own ends, whatever the cost to others.

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The 2017 GOM Best Paper Awards

gomb_43_4_coverWe would like to congratulate the following winners for their achievements! Below are the abstracts of each outstanding article. Please note that the full articles will be free to read for a limited time.


Group & Organization Management 2017 Best Conceptual Paper Award:

Congratulations to authors, Anastasia Sapegina and Antoinette Weibel of the University of St. Gallen for their outstanding article, “The Good, the Not So Bad, and the Ugly of Competitive Human Resource Practices: A Multidisciplinary Conceptual Framework.”

hiring-1977803_960_720.jpgHuman resource (HR) practices used to inject internal competition into the workplace are the subject of heated debates in business practice; this is however not the case in the field of human resource management (HRM) research. In this article, we first augment previous research in the field to offer an initial conceptualization of competitive HR practices. We then develop a conceptual framework that explains the processes and conditions that drive and determine the impact of competitive HR practices on employees at work. Blending insights from social comparison theory and uncertainty research, we theorize a set of conditions that specify when competitive HR practices unfold their “dark” side, and when the “not so bad” or even “a good side” of competitive HR practices might emerge.


Group & Organization Management 2017 Best Empirical Paper Award:

Congratulations to authors, Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Ming Ming Chiu of Purdue University, Zhike Lei of Georgetown University, and Simone Kauffeld of Technische Universität Braunschweig, for their outstanding article, “Understanding Positivity Within Dynamic Team Interactions: A Statistical Discourse Analysis.”

170705-F-XX000-0004Positivity has been heralded for its individual benefits. However, how positivity dynamically unfolds within the temporal flow of team interactions remains unclear. This is an important oversight, as positivity can be key to team problem solving and performance. In this study, we examine how team micro-processes affect the likelihood of positivity occurring within dynamic team interactions. In doing so, we build on and expand previous work on individual positivity and integrate theory on temporal team processes, interaction rituals, and team problem solving. We analyze 43,139 utterances during the meetings of 43 problem-solving teams in two organizations. First, we find that the observed overall frequency of positivity behavior in a team is positively related to managerial ratings of team performance. Second, using statistical discourse analysis, we show that solution-focused behavior and previous positivity within the team interaction process increase the likelihood of subsequent positivity expressions, whereas positivity is less likely after problem-focused behavior. Dynamic speaker switches moderate these effects, such that interaction instances involving more speakers increase the facilitating effects of solutions and earlier positivity for subsequent positivity within team interactions. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of micro-level team positivity and its performance benefits.


Thank you for your outstanding contributions!

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HR Photo attributed to Free Photos.

Positivity Photo attributed to Free Photos.

Dealing with Learning–Credibility Tension

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Alaric Bourgoin and Jean-François Harvey of HEC Montréal, Canada, who recently published the article, “Professional image under threat: Dealing with learning–credibility tension,” in Human Relations. Below they discuss the results and implications of their research.]

huma_71_2.coverHow does one learn and build credibility simultaneously? Today’s professionals often find themselves entering new organisations where they are expected to bring their knowledge to bear on shifting situations. Entering new settings generates uncertainty because knowledge is socially embedded and context-dependent, such that it may not be possible to simply transfer knowledge developed in a previous context and apply it to a new one. Despite this difficulty, professionals must project an image of competence to be regarded as experts, and preclude sceptical clients from withdrawing completely. Faced with an uncertain new setting, they may encounter a conflict between their professional image and their ability to fulfil their role. This challenge is faced by an increasing number of professionals and managers alike, who are no longer seeking linear careers and instead move in and out of complex projects on a regular basis.

To address this puzzle, Professors Alaric Bourgoin and Jean-François Harvey draw on data from 21 months of participant observation during consulting assignments, and interviews with 79 management consultants. They adopted an original method – auto-ethnography with an insider-outsider research team – insofar that Bourgoin worked as a consultant to collect first-hand data for almost two years, which was regularly discussed and analysed with Harvey. They gained an unparalleled access to the minutiae of the work practices and inner feelings of consultants repeatedly adjusting to new settings under high-pressure conditions from their clients.

The main finding of this research is the construct that Bourgoin and Harvey call “learning–credibility tension” – a discrepancy between a newcomer position that requires professionals to learn, and a role-based image that requires professionals to maintain their credibility as experts. The authors discovered that this tension is a salient and costly issue for professionals during organisational entry. Specifically, they find that consultants experience three threats to their professional image during interactions with clients: competency, acceptance, and productive threats. Whereas most recruits are given time for socialisation, and granted some trial-and-error leeway in the process, the high costs of consulting services ratchets up clients’ expectations with respect to practitioners’ capacity to solve complex problems, fit in the sociopolitical context of their firm, and create value for money within a few days through the assignment.

While consultants emphasise the pressures of learning–credibility tension, they also use three tactics to mitigate it: (1) crafting relevance, (2) crafting resonance and (3) crafting substance. Such tactics include back- and front-stage behaviour and allow professionals to keep face as experts while seeking the information they require to adjust to new settings. If performed successfully, the tactics allow consultants to reduce the anxiety associated with learning–credibility tension, and support their relationship with clients.

The study builds new theory in socialisation by bridging information needs and image concerns, revealing original tactics that are highly relevant to a wide variety of people. It also contributes to substantive debates on management consulting by relating insights from the sociology of professions to contemporary knowledge workers and overturning the critique of consultants as professionals of persuasion.

You can read  Professional image under threat: Dealing with learning–credibility tension from Human Relations free until the end of March by clicking here.

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‘Working with Generation Y & Generation Z’- engaging this cohort for businesses, societies and nations is no more a matter of choice

srishtiThe younger workforce, Generation Z and Generation Y, is driven by technology, as an outcome they believe in multitasking and approaching projects in different creative vantage ideas; and likes to experiment and discover new styles and solutions to problems and difficulties as they are driven by their inner need for a sense of purpose, this approach of mavericks is what is required for new businesses. Generation Z has been attracted by the companies that embrace advanced technology and that have created new styles of working internationally, as a result this generation is making a substantial move away from the old and conventional forms of jobs, as they are very entrepreneurial and they believe in engaging in multiple jobs with various career paths. As mentioned earlier, India has roughly 65 per cent of its population below the age of 25 which makes a huge population of India as generation Z category. Sixty-nine million of them reside in urban areas. These young people have a very different childhood to the one their parents experienced. Generation Z is ambitious and competitive in nature. Today, Indian companies have realized the importance of having the intrapreneurial culture and generation Z will be the next intrapreneurs for the corporates and those companies who could channelize them well will be at a competitive advantage. Focusing on the intrapreneurial culture in India organizations; this article from the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies explores the challenges faced by the Indian organization while working with generation Z intrapreneurs.

Abstract

The article explicates that Indian organizations have started engaging generation Z intrapreneurs, but they face challenges while engaging them. It has been observed that leaders and managers often find generation Y and generation Z difficult to manage; one of the reasons being the difference in attitude of the younger generation as instead of traditional monetary incentives, they value passion, purpose, flexibility, transparency, collaboration, trust and autonomy. The organizations that desire to be entrepreneurial, need to learn how to engage, inspire, incentivize and motivate this younger generation intrapreneurs; as this may require organizations to re-think and make changes in the existing organizational structures.

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Click here to read A Qualitative Exploration of the Challenges Organizations Face while Working with Generation Z Intrapreneurs for free from Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies!

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Strategic Value Contribution Role of HR

VisionIn the face of climate change and unaccountable corporations, consumers are increasingly vocal about their desire to support transparent companies that actively fight for social justice and offer eco-friendly products and alternatives to conventional items. In response, more brands are demonstrating accountability. Some of the fastest growing businesses are those in the natural product category, those with recycled and recyclable packaging, sweatshop-free and fair trade sourcing, and brands with affiliations with charitable organizations. All else equal, people are investing in brands they feel align with their values.

But, unfortunately it has been found that in spite of showing concern for the environment and advocating environmentally safe activities, the Indian consumer is still not ready to accept the hard truth that it the responsibility of one and all to minimize their contribution to the overall environmental pollution. This article from the journal ‘Vision’ aims at studying socio-psychological factors which contribute in the formation of environmental attitude of consumers. It further aims at establishing the connection between environmental attitude of the consumer and his/her willingness to buy environmentally friendly products.

The socio-cultural, psychological and demographic factors have manifested divergent relationship between attitude and behaviour. There is inadequate understanding of antecedents of consumer’s environmentally friendly attitude and willingness to buy environmentally friendly product. Some authors argue that many consumers claim that they care about the environment; their buying behaviour does not always reflect this concern.

It has been found that the dimensions, such as environmental knowledge (EK), perceived seriousness of environmental (PSE) problem, interpersonal influence (IPI), collectivism and long-term orientation (LTO), have positive relationship with consumer environmental attitude (CEA)

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Click here to read Consumer Environmental Attitude and Willingness to Purchase Environmentally Friendly Products: An SEM Approach for free from the journal Vision.

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Submit Your Manuscript to Public Personnel Management!

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Public Personnel Management is currently seeking manuscript submissions. Founded by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), Public Personnel Management is published specifically for human resource executives and managers in the public sector. Each quarterly edition contains in-depth articles on trends, case studies and the latest research by top human resource scholars and industry experts.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ppm.

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review. If you have any questions, please contact Editor Jared J. Llorens (jared1@lsu.edu).

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest research!

Undergraduate Internships: Do They Contribute to Career Success?

Internships help equip the student with skills to apply in classroom courses, as well as provide knowledge of how a business functions and if there is an interest sparked in his or her chosen field of study. The experience of internships, however, is under investigation of whether or not they help contribute to a student’s long-term professional development, since the duration of internships is usually limited, therefore offering a limited exposure to the field or business.

Author Katina Sawyer of Villanova University recently published an article in Advances in Developing Human Resources entitled, “Keeping It Real: The Impact of HRD Internships on the Development of HRD Professionals.” In the study, Sawyer analyzes data collected from students who participated in a human resource related internship, which helps to shed light on whether these internships are a valuable tool in retaining the student’s interest in the field. The abstract for her article is below;

Participation in inADHR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgternships may provide undergraduate human resource development (HRD) students with practical experience necessary to be successful in the field. However, research is lacking which examines the impact of HRD internship experiences on professional development and career trajectories. Research is also limited which provides guidance on how to distinguish which undergraduate internships may be most valuable. The features which make internships most effective in preparing students for their chosen careers warrant further examination, specifically within HRD. Relatedly, it is important to understand which internship experiences are most likely to develop HRD competencies for undergraduate students.

The article is currently free to read for a limited time.

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