Employees’ Emotional and Behavioral Reactions to Corporate Social Irresponsibility a, b

Corentin Hericher*, Flore Bridoux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While the body of literature on employees’ reactions to their employer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown rapidly over the last decade, little is known regarding employees’ reactions to corporate social irresponsibility (CSiR). Applying deonance theory, we conceptualize CSiR as a moral judgment that a specific action of the organization is intentional, violates a moral standard, and causes harm. Using a multimethod, multisample design (two experiments
and one field study), we provide evidence that moral emotions—specifically anger, sympathy, and, to some extent, guilt—are important mechanisms explaining employees’ reactions to CSiR toward other stakeholders, which can take the form of punishing, as often discussed in organization-centric research, as well as the form of compensating the victim of the CSiR, a behavior rarely studied in the management literature. Regarding the role of pride, a well-studied emotion in the micro-CSR literature, in explaining employees’ responses to CSiR, we obtain mixed results. In addition to contributing to the micro-CSR field, we contribute to deonance theory by extending its scope to sympathy and guilt and to the literature on CSiR by offering a conceptualization and a measure of CSiR grounded in deonance theory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2022


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