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Relationships between Corporate Social Responsibility, Work Engagement and Organizational Commitment: Explanatory Role of Organizational Identification.

Byline: Rashid Ahmad and Talat Islam

Keywords. Corporate social responsibility, organizational identification, organizational commitment, employee engagement

An organizational effectiveness is directly associated to its employees' level of identification and each of its level have an impact on organizational effectiveness. However, there still exists an ongoing debate about "why dynamics of identification need to be understood" (Albert et al., 2000). The concept of identification is closely related to the concept of psychological attachment. Because, when employees feel that their career objectives and aims are aligned with their organizational objectives, they feel more identification working with their organization (O"Reilly and Chatman, 1986). Such scenario creates an emotional and psychological bond between both the parties because of which employees feel themselves more identified. Literature is also clear about the same that, employee tends to carry positive image of their organization when found that their and organizational objectives as same (Fuller et al., 2006).

In simple words, employees feel more attached and identified to their organizations when they will be provided with better, cooperative and supportive work environment. Narrowing the literature, organizational involvement in CSR make its employees feel a supportive work environment (Dutton et al., 1994), in turn, they feel more identification. In a most recent study, identification towards organization is considered as the strongest consequent of corporate social responsibility and suggests examining the same in various cultural contexts (Farooq et al., 2014). Since last two decades, the construct of commitment (OC) has become the emerging area for further research, because relates to the performance of individuals but it also has influence on organizational performance (Mowday, 1998; Meyer and Herscovitch, 2001). The concept of organizational commitment remained researchers' priority while examining employees job related outcomes (Morrow, 1993).

Meyer and Allen (1997) introduced various dimensions of OC and argued that, each of its dimensions has varying values with other variables. In addition, they added that committed employees are more likely to continue with their organization, have believed on its mission and vision, and exert efforts to contribute towards its strengths. In short, OC represents an employee's psychological attachment to be with their organization. Normally, OC is considered as a three dimensional variable by the researchers and its overall impact still lacks (Macey and Schneider, 2008). Literature is clear about the notion that "employees with self-concept are more likely to exhibit their level of commitment towards organization". In this regard, organizations that are involved in socially responsible activities provide its employees with the resources that make them feel better self-concept. Therefore, in present study it was argued to examine the association between perceived corporate social responsibility and OC.

An organization's internal CSR activities may include fair treatment, rules and regulations and continuous development of employees (Maignan and Ferrell, 2000). Thus, in the presence of corporate social responsibility activities, employees of the organization are more likely to feel pride and identified to their organizations (Islam et al., 2016). This change of perception (developed because of organizational ethical concerns) also positively contributes towards enhancing their job related attitudes. Eisenberger et al., (1990) also noted that ethical organizations are more likely to enhance its employees OC. According to Aguilera et al., (2007) organizations with their involvement in social responsibilities tend to have more satisfied and committed employees.

While considering the literature on the dimensions of OC, findings on the association of CSR with affective and continuance commitment are clear (Fu, Bolander, and Jones, 2009; Tett and Meyer, 1993) comparing association between corporate social responsibility and normative commitment. Therefore, this study used affective and continuance commitment to measure OC. In a recent study Kim, Lee, Lee, and Kim (2010) examined the indirect association between corporate social responsibility and OC; therefore, in present study it was incorporated and organizational identification (OI) was considered as a mediating variable between the same. It was further argued that, corporate social responsibility positively contributes in shaping employees level of identification, which increases their OC.

Social identity theory (SIT) also stated the same that, employees feel themselves identified with those organizations that are involved in corporate social responsibility and it ultimately contribute towards enhancing their attitudes. Employees' involvement in their work with commitment while being satisfied is known as employee engagement (Harter et al., 2002). In the same way, few studies suggested that employee engagement (EE) is a positive attitude of employee towards their organization and its value, objectives and working environment (Robinson, Perryman and Hayday, 2004). The concept employee engagement (EE) has become a global issue now-a-days as only thirteen percent of the world's employees are noted to be engaged in their work (Islam and Tariq, 2018). Therefore, organizations across the globe are trying to find various ways to enhance its employees' engagement in their work. According to Kaur (2016) financial performance/benefits are directly associated to employee engagement.

Therefore, organizations started making investment to stimulate and maintain employee engagement (EE). According to Zientara, Kujawski, and Godfrey (2015) and Ferreira and Oliveira (2014) organizations that invest in corporate social responsibility related activities may leave an impact on its employees' perception regarding sense of responsibility, hence they try to be engage in their work. In another study Saks (2006) also concluded that, when employees do something for the welfare of society, it makes them more engage in their work. Therefore, it was argued that, employees' when feel that their organization is involved in corporate social responsibility related work would try to reciprocate in terms of engagement. Social identity theory (SIT) provides theoretical support to explain the mediating effects of organizational identification (OI) between corporate social responsibility-OC and corporate social responsibility-EE associations.

SIT states that, individuals classify themselves in groups (Tajfel and Turner, 1985). They further claimed that on the basis of this notion, "organizational identification (OI) is a specific category of social identity where the individuals categorize themselves in term of their membership in a specific group or organization (Ashforth and Mael, 1989)". According to SIT, individuals make social comparisons by comparing themselves within or outside groups. While making comparisons with other groups, employees tend to feel more identified when they feel their group better amongst and this fosters their self-esteem. In this way, while comparing with other organizations, if they found their organization as socially responsible, then it would make them more identified towards their organization. In turn, they not only show their emotional attachment but also becomes ready to work more (i.e. employee engagement) for the betterment of their organization.

Rationale of the Study

In today's era, it has become strategic necessity for the organizations to give importance to the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). An organization's CSR relates to both internal as well as external stakeholders (i.e. employees and society respectively). Such corporate social responsibility related activities not only benefit the organization but also benefit both the stakeholders at large. For example, You et al., (2013), Roeck and Delobbe (2012), and Zheng (2010) focused on CSR's benefits for existing employees, whereas Kim and Park (2011) highlighted its importance from customer's perspective. According to Mishra and Suar (2010) employees are the real assets and key stakeholders of any organization, therefore, organizations are required to exert corporate social responsibility activities for them, especially in service sector. Service sector is dependent on the success of its employees (Arasli, Daskin, and Saydam, 2014).

In addition, the quality of products and customer service also depends upon the satisfaction of the employees (Lee et al., 2012). Therefore, this study argues that, service organizations by involving in corporate social responsibility related activities can positively shape the positive job related outcomes of its employees. In a similar way, Tziner (2013) noted that corporate social responsibility positively contribute toward enhancing employees' behaviors and attitudes which ultimately increase their productivity and performance. Amongst many service sectors, studies on higher education institutions (HEI from onward) are scant in this regard. Thus, this study aimed at investigating that how faculty members consider their institute's involvement in CSR (corporate social responsibility) related activities to shape up their positive behaviors and attitudes.


* To examine organizational commitment, employee engagement and organizational identification as consequent of perceived corporate social responsibility.

* To examine the mediating role of organizational identification between the associations of perceived corporate social responsibility with organizational commitment and employee engagement.


* Perceived corporate social responsibility has positive impact on faculty member's organizational identification, commitment and engagement.

* Organizational identification mediates between the associations of perceived corporate social responsibility with organizational commitment and employee engagement.


Research Design

Correlational research design was used in this study to examine the organizational commitment, employee engagement and organizational identification as consequent of perceived corporate social responsibility in faculty members of higher education institutes (HEIs).


In this quantitative research study, data was obtained from 736 full time faculty members of HEI's. In this study, multi-stage stratified sampling technique is used on convenience basis. Total 177 institutions recognized by HEC Pakistan were divided into public (n=103) and private sector (n=74) strata. In order to have an appropriate sampling size, proportional allocation of random sampling was applied from each stratum. At the 2nd stage, faculty members were approached on the basis of convenience. Krejcie and Morgan (1970) formula was applied and 736 faculty members were selected including 379 from public and 357 from private sector universities. The respondents were requested to point out their demographical characteristics, which included gender, age, designation, qualification and experience etc. Majority of the respondents were male (n=363). Majority of the respondents' age was calculated 44 years by using the midpoint of each category of age. About 329 were married and 256 were unmarried.

Assessment Measures

Corporate social responsibility (CSR). A 29-items scale developed by Maignan and Ferrell (2001) was used to examine corporate social responsibility among faculty members of HEIs. The items were measured on 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1-5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The higher scores on this scale shows higher corporate social responsibility. This scale has previously been used to measure faculty's social responsibility in western countries. This is the reason the same scale was used and found it reliable in non-western countries like Pakistan. In present study it reported.93 of alpha reliability. A sample item includes, "All our academic degree programs meet legal standards given by HEC."

Organizational identification (OI). A 5-items scale developed by Mael and Ashforth (1992) was used to measure organizational Identification among faculty members of HEIs. The items were measured on 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1-5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The higher scores on this scale shows higher organizational identification. The same scalewas used in the Pakistani context by a number of studies and noted as valid and reliable. The present study reported.83 of alpha reliability. A sample item includes, "I am very interested in what others think about my university.

Organizational commitment (OC). A 6-items shortened version of Allen and Meyer (1990) regarding affective and continuance commitment was used to measure organizational commitment. The main reason of using this scale was that this study only focuses on the emotional and perceived sacrifice level of commitment. The items were measured on 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1-5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The higher scores on this scale shows higher organizational commitment. Further, the same scale has been identified as reliable in Pakistani context in a number of studies. In present study this scale reported.81 of alpha reliability. The sample item includes, "I feel like "part of the family' at this university."

Employee engagement (EE). This scale was developed by Saks (2006) and it was used to measure employee engagement. It comprised of 11 items and the items were measured on 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1-5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The higher scores on this scale shows higher employee engagement. According to Ahmad (2017) this scale is reliable in the context of Pakistani higher education. In present study this scale reported.81 of alpha reliability. A sample item includes, "I am highly engaged in my job."


For the purpose of data collection from the respondents, a survey questionnaire was used. First, universities from each stratum were contacted via phone calls, and then questionnaires were sent to the respective faculties through courier. Few of the faculty members from each university were in contact for any query regarding filling the questionnaire. The respective universities returned the filled questionnaire through courier service. During data collection, all the respondents were informed that their identity would not be disclosed. In addition, respondents were also informed that results of the study would be shared with them if they desire so. Total 736 faculty members were approached for data collection from both the strata. 595 faculty members responded the questionnaires with 80% response rate.

Table 1 Relationship between Corporate Social responsibility, Organizational identification, Commitment and Engagement in Faculty Members (N=736)


1. CSR###3.60###.55

2. OI###.51**###3.68###.74

3. OC###.54**###.60**###3.54###.66

4. EE###.55**###.55**###.59**###3.60###.54

Table 2 Factor loading of the Corporate Social responsibility Scale (CSR)

Sr.# Item no.###CSR###OI###OC###EE



















































Table 3 Results of Mediation through Path Analysis


Path###B###p###Direct###Indirect###Total effect###Mediation








To see relationship between corporate social responsibility, organizational identification, commitment and engagement in faculty members, Pearson product moment correlation analysis was run (See Table 1). Results indicated significant relationship among all the variables of interest of the study e.g. corporate social responsibility-Engagement, corporate social responsibility-Commitment, and corporate social responsibility-Identification. Further, Standard deviation values were found less than "one" which indicates that data fall within the acceptable range and no large dispersion was found in the data (Hair et al., 1995). To validate all multidimensional constructs, second-order CFA was used (See Table 2). Items of the constructs having loading less than 0.30 were eliminated (Hair et al., 2010). The model also examined the values of model tness using the standard values introduced by Hair et al., (2010) and Byrne (2010), that is RMSEA=.08, GFI=.91, AGFI=.90, NFI=.90, TLI=.91, CFI=.94, IA2/df=4.76.

The Table 2 also identify the values of "average variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR) for convergent and discriminant validity of the instruments". The values of AVE and CR are in the acceptable range of.50 and.60, respectively (Fornell and Larcker, 1981), which verifies the convergent and discriminant validity of the instrument. In line with the recommendations of Hair et al. (2006) regarding model fit, model was adjusted for modification indices and residual values. After necessary modifications, model was found fit having fit indices values i.e. IA2=2063.22, df =1000, IA2/df=2.06, p=.00, NFI=.90, GFI=.91, IFI=.91, AGFI=.90, CFI=0.91, TLI=0.91, RMSEA=.04, p-Close=1.00. Figure 1 shows the structural model below:

In structural model, the values of incremental and parsimony fit indices were found within acceptable range. The result also revealed that employees' perception of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has significant positive impact on employee identification, commitment and engagement, and these results are in line with the existing literature. This study used path analysis to determine the mediating analysis (Byrne, 2010). First, a significant path was found between corporate social responsibility-Identification (CSR-OI), [beta]=.59, p<.01. Second, a significant path was found between Identification-Commitment (OI-OC), [beta]=.58, p<.01. Third, the direct path between corporate social responsibility-Organizational commitment (CSR-OC) was found to be significant, [beta]=.04, p<.01. However, in comparison with direct path ([beta] =.29), the indirect path (i.e.,.59 x.58) was found lesser, [beta]=.34, p<.01 but significant, which supported the presence of partial mediation.

Similarly, the mediating role of Identification was examined between corporate social responsibility-engagement association (CSR-EE), where the path between corporate social responsibility-Identification (CSR-OI) was found significant, [beta]=.59, p<.01. Similarly, the path between Identification-engagement (OI-EE) was also found significant, [beta]=.56, p<.01. In addition, in comparison with direct path, [beta] =.33, p<.01, the indirect path was found lesser, [beta]=.33, p=.01 but significant. Thus, it concludes that OI performs partial mediating role between the variables under study i.e. corporate social responsibility, commitment, engagement (See Table 3).


The prime focus of this study was to empirically investigate the impact of perceived corporate social responsible activity's impact on employees' job related outcomes. First, the study assumes that, employees when perceive their organization's involvement in corporate social responsible activities they feel identified with their organization. The results of the study supported H1. According to Ahmad (2017), organizational involvement in such activities positively signal its employees, in turn they are more likely to feel identified with their organization. In a similar fashion, Collier and Esteban (2007) also noted the same that, organization's welfare related activities are considered as a source of pride by the employees and this ultimately make them feel identified with their organization. The study also identified a positive association of perceived corporate social responsibility with employee engagement and organizational commitment, thus supporting suggested hypotheses.

These results are in line with the social identity theory of Ashforth and Mael (1989) that states, employees feel about their company's involvement in welfare related activities make them feel pride to be a part of their organization, which positively impact their psychological attachment (i.e. organizational commitment). Recently, some of the researchers have also identified that corporate social responsibility positively related to commitment (Farooq et al., 2014; Haq, Kuchinke, and Iqbal, 2017; Islam et al., 2016). Regarding the association between corporate social responsibility and engagement, this study adds in the literature because earlier literature was of mixed nature. For example, Smith and Langford (2011) found insignificant association, while Farooq et al., (2014) and Ahmad, Islam, and Saleem (2017) found a significant association between the same. This study noted that, organization's involvement in corporate social responsible related activities enhances its employees' work engagement.

This result is in line with the social identity theory. In addition, the study also found identification performing the mediating role between the relationship of corporate social responsibility with commitment and engagement, supporting suggested hypothesis. Although, higher education institutes in Pakistan are performing well but still have problem regarding their employees' (i.e. faculty member) engagement in their work, thus, this study found that by engaging in social responsible activities organizations can make its employees feel pride, in turn, they reciprocate with more commitment and engagement (Glavas, 2016).

Conclusion. This study revealed that faculty members' perception of corporate social responsibility has significant positive impact on their level of identification, commitment and engagement in higher education institutions in Pakistan. This showed that in higher education institutions, faculty members' perception of corporate social responsibility has positively influence their work attitudes. Therefore, this study provides a psychological based model to the organizations through which employees' attitudes can be positively enhanced at their workplace.

Limitations and Suggestion. The study is not limitation free. First, the data for this study is of cross section that restrict researchers to identify cause and effect, therefore future researchers are suggested to conduct a longitudinal study. Second, the study collected data from the HEI's of Pakistan and to generalize the results other countries should also be considered. Third, most of the respondents of this study were male, which can raise a question on gender-biased results. Therefore, future studies should consider equal number of male and female respondents. Finally, future researcher should consider other variables like organizational trust as mediator between corporate social responsibility and employees job related outcomes.

Implications. This study suggested to the higher education institutes that they should involve in corporate social responsible related activities. Employees when perceive that, they are associated with such an organization that contribute in the society's welfare, feel pride and this not only increase their level of organizational identification, but ultimately increase their level of organizational commitment and engagement. Hence, in view of the impact of identification on engagement in HEIs, there is need to implement social responsible programs in term of strategic significance in HEIs.


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Publication:Journal of Behavioural Sciences
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Dec 31, 2018
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