Investigating relationships between corporate social responsibility orientation and employer attractiveness in Hong Kong's graduate labour market
Kan, Hing Ki
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Achieving a good organization-person fit is vital to organizational survival and can also create a win-win phenomenon for both employers and job applicants. One of the factors of this ‘fit’ can hinge on how job applicants perceive whether their prospective employers have corporate social responsibilities (‘CSR’) that match their own corporate social responsibility orientation (‘CSRO’) and CSRO can be one of the employer-attractiveness influencing factors. However, the construct and definition of CSR and CSRO have been elusive, subject to different social-cultural environments, time frame and value orientations of people. This study qualitatively investigates the relationships, if any, between the Corporate Social Responsibility Orientation of undergraduate students in their senior years (full-time and part-time students) and Employer Attractiveness (‘EA’) in Hong Kong’s graduate labour market. It tries to find out whether students’ CSRO would influence their employment decisions towards organizations which have exhibited various extents and types of socially responsible behaviors. There were 97 participants spread among 15 focus-groups later classified into 6 categories in various study majors and study modes. They were all undergraduate students in their senior year of study. Findings from the study provide evidence that students generally aspired to work for a good CSR organization, and this was a telling factor in their employment-decision. However, students had a ‘CSR’ connotation differing from those established in previous research. Most of the students in this research thought that for an organization to be considered socially responsible and attractive in terms of their employment-decisions, the organization is normally expected to take up some responsibilities associated with a responsible-employer (‘RER’). However, it was found that their actual employment decisions were at variance from their espoused ethical position prior to seeking employment. Alternative interpretations, based on sensemaking, of the qualitative data will be explored and insights for students, educators and companies will be derived. The outcomes of the research could be informative for both human resources management theory and practice in organisations where there is a debate over whether, and how, they should pursue a CSR agenda. Furthermore, this research adds to literature which seeks to link CSR, CSRO, employment recruitment and employer attractiveness.