The Moral Capture of "Being Good": A Study of CSR Compliance in Identity-Image Dynamics

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    This paper reports a study on CSR as a form of control of organizational members’ identity. Prior studies have suggested that managerial CSR policies may have disciplining effects on member identity. We extend this research by suggesting that identity-image dynamics amplify and change such control effects, as CSR messages are communicated to external audiences and institutionalized as expectations with publicly binding promises about a certain member identity of “being good”. Based on empirical findings we propose that CSR as a communicated and “generalized concern for the “other” introduces a new layer of institutional control for identity work that emerges beyond managerial influence, as employees as well as managers are morally inclined to comply with the corporate CSR promise of “being good”. Importantly, our findings show that members comply with the CSR message in four ways that include devotion but also suppression of overt forms of critique and resistance. We refer to these four compliance modes as the “moral capture of CSR”. We discuss the implications of compliance to CSR as a form of control of identity work, as we propose that CSR images “captivate” member identity in discursive closure and impede future development of CSR.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2013
    Number of pages33
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2013: Capitalism in Question - Lake Bueno Vista (Orlando), FL, United States
    Duration: 9 Aug 201313 Aug 2013
    Conference number: 73


    ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2013
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityLake Bueno Vista (Orlando), FL
    Internet address

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