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Title: Reaching the hard to reach : CSR and employee engagement in hospitality and tourism
Author: Hejjas, Kelsy N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 7412
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2017
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The concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement are growing in importance, both in academia and in practise. Research suggests that there is a strong correlation between the two with CSR linked to organisational advantages, including recruitment, retention, productivity, and morale, which relate specifically to employees. Furthermore, with employee engagement a well-established antecedent to obtaining objectives, employees are an integral stakeholder group in CSR adoption and dissemination. However, despite specific benefits of CSR relating to employees and their importance as stakeholders, it is noteworthy that a lack of attention has been paid to the individual level of analysis with CSR primarily being studied at the organisational level. Within research and practise of CSR, the organisation is often treated as a ‘black box’, failing to account for individual differences and the resulting variations in antecedents to CSR engagement or disengagement. This is a theoretical challenge shared by stakeholder theory, which often suggests internal homogeneity within stakeholder groups despite diversity of objectives and stakes in the organisation. The primary objective of the study is to determine why employees engage and disengage from CSR interventions within the context of multinational hospitality and tourism organisations. In order to fully examine the subjective experience of employees engaging in organisational CSR, a qualitative methodology is employed. Data was drawn from three multinational tourism and hospitality case study organisations and involved extensive interview data collected from CSR leaders, engaged and disengaged employees, and industry professionals. This exploratory research subsequently contributes to the understanding of employee engagement in CSR by identifying opportunities and barriers for individual employee engagement in corporate responsibility policy and initiatives. This research also contributes to emerging evidence within the literature that suggests disengagement is not the counterpart of engagement. Having studied individual differences in CSR engagement, findings suggests that the engagement and disengagement are not opposites and unique antecedents to both engagement and disengagement are identified as arising at the personal, activity, and organisational level. A multilevel analysis subsequently contributes to the advancement of employee CSR engagement understanding. Critically, it is proposed that employees are situated along a spectrum of engagement from actively engaged to actively disengaged, with a key contribution of this research being a model that addresses variation in individual engagement and disengagement. Recognising that employees accept, interpret and operationalise corporate responsibility differently, this study draws on social identity theory to account for individual differences amongst employees. While there are some common drivers of engagement across the entire spectrum of employees, differences also exist depending on the degree to which employees support CSR within their organisations. Key antecedents to CSR engagement that vary depending on employees’ existing level of broader engagement include: observed benefits of participation, CSR intervention design, organisational culture, employee CSR perceptions, and CSR leadership. Employee CSR engagement is also identified as being driven by the type of CSR intervention, communication, individual values, and person-organisation fit.
Supervisor: Scarles, Caroline ; Miller, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available