Corporate Social Responsibility and Employer Attractiveness: Perspectives of Students on the African continent

  • Ebo Hinson
  • Selorm Agbleze Free State Business School
  • John Kuada
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Employer attractiveness, Employer branding, Africa, Ghana


This paper explores the importance that potential employees attach to CSR practices of firms and how their perceptions of CSR may translate into their willingness to work for CSR practicing firms. The paper sought to investigate the effect of students’ CSR perception on their perception of the attractiveness of CSR practicing firms as prospective employers and also explore the possible moderating effects of student’s demographic characteristics on the relationship between their perception of CSR and the employer attractiveness of CSR practicing firms. The study employed correlations, multiple and hierarchical regression analyses to explore data collected from 603 students in the largest university in Ghana. Male respondents had attached significantly higher importance to firms’ engagement in CSR activities than their female counterparts while respondents from the African continent attached higher importance to firms’ engagement in CSR practices than respondents from other continents with the exception of Australia. Additionally, individual’s perception of firms engagement in CSR was found to be positively related to their perceived attraction to CSR practicing firms as prospective employers. Results of the study indicate that CSR can be employed to differentiate job offerings within the African context and as such, CSR can serve as an employer branding tool in Africa. This study represents one of the first attempts to explore the role of demographic characteristics in affecting individuals’ CSR perceptions as well as the role of CSR perceptions in affecting the attractiveness of prospective employers within the African context. 

Author Biography

Selorm Agbleze, Free State Business School
Research Associate


Aggerholm HK, Andersen SE and Thomsen C (2011) Conceptualising employer branding in sustainable organisations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 16(2): 105–123.

Albinger HS and Freeman SJ (2000) Corporate Social Performance and Attractiveness as an Employer to Different Job Seeking Populations. Journal of Business Ethics 28: 243– 253.

Amaewhule W (1997) Oil companies, communities, and social responsibility. Training & Development 51: 53–54.

Ameen EC, Guffey DM and McMillan JJ (1996) Gender differences in determining the ethical sensitivity of future accounting professionals. Journal of Business Ethics 15(5): 591–597.

Arlow P (1991) Personal characteristics in college students’ evaluation of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 10: 63–69.

Arpan LM (2005) Integration of information about corporate social performance. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 10(1): 83–98.

Ashforth E and Mael F (1989) Social Identity Theory and the Organization. The Academy of Management Review 14(1): 20–39.

Atuguba R and Dowuona-hammond C (2006) CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN GHANA. Available from: FINAL REPORT.pdf.

Bhattacharya CB, Sen S and Korschun D (2008) Using corporate social responsibility to win the war for talent. MITSloan Management Review Spring: 37–44.

Birth G, Illia L, Lurati F and Zamparini A (2008) Communicating CSR: practices among Switzerland’s top 300 companies. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 13(2): 182–196.

Burton B and Hegarty W (1999) Some determinants of student corporate social responsibility orientation. Business & society 38: 188–205. Available from: (accessed 9 September 2016).

Carless D (2005) Prospects for the implementation of assessment for learning. Assessment in Education 12(1): 39–54. Available from: (accessed 10 September 2016).

Carroll AB (1979) A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. The Academy of Management Review 4(4): 497–505.

Chonko, LB and Hunt SD (1985) Ethics and marketing management: An empirical examination. Journal of Business Research 13: 339-359.

Crane A and Matten D (2004) Business Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dashwood HS and Puplampu BB (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility at Golden Star Resources , Ghana : A Multiperspective Collaborative Case Study Report. Available from:

Dawkins C and Ngunjiri FW (2008) Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in South Africa: A Descriptive and Comparative Analysis. Journal of Business Communication 45: 286–307.

Dolan KA (1997) Kinder, gentler MBAs. Forbes (June 2):39–40.

Elias RZ (2004) An examination of business students’ perception of corporate social responsibilities before and after bankruptcies. Journal of Business Ethics 52(3): 267–281.

Epstein JL (1987) Parent involvement: What research says to administrators. Education and Urban Society 19(2): 119 -136.

Evans RW and Davis WD (2008) An examination of perceived corporate citizenship, job applicant attraction, and CSR work role definition. Business & Society 50(3): 456–480.

Eweje G (2007) Multinational oil companies’ CSR initiatives in Nigeria the scepticism of stakeholders in host communities. Managerial Law 49: 218–235.

Ghauri P and Gronhaug K (2005) Research Methods in Business Studies a Practical Guide. 3rd ed. Essex: Prentice Hall Financial times.

Gotsi M and Wilson AM (2001) Corporate reputation management:Living the brand. Management Decision 39(2): 24–30.

Guzman F and Becker-Oslen K (2010Strategic corporate social responsibility: A brand building tool in Louche C, Idowu SO, Filho, LW (Eds), Innovative CSR from risk management to value creation, Sheffield: Greenleaf: 197-219.

Greening DW and Turban DB (2000) Corporate social performance as a competitive advantage in attracting a quality workforce. Business and Society 39: 254–280.

Haigh MM and Brubaker P (2010) Examining how image restoration strategy impacts perceptions of corporate social responsibility, organization-public relationships, and source credibility. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 15(4): 453–468.

Harding DJ (2011) Rethinking the cultural context of schooling decisions in disadvantaged neighborhoods: From deviant subculture to cultural heterogeneity. Sociology of Education 84(4): 322–339.

Hair JF, Black,WC, Babin B J and Anderson RE (2010) Multivariate Data Analysis. Pearson Prentice Hall.

Hofstede G (1985) The interaction between national and organizational value systems. Journal of Management Studies 22(4): 347–357.

Illia L, Zyglidopoulos, SC, Romenti S, Rodríguez-Cánovas Band del Valle Brena, AG (2013) Communicating corporate social responsibility to a cynical public. MIT Sloan Management Review, 54(3):2.

Jamali D (2008) A Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility :A fresh perspective into theory and practice. Journal of Business Ethics 82: 213–231.

Judge T a. and Bretz RD (1992) Effects of work values on job choice decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology 77(3): 261–271.

Kristof AL (1996) Person-Organization Fit: an Integrative Review of Its Conceptualizations, Measurement, and Implications. Personnel Psychology 49(1): 1–49.

Lindeman M and Verkasalo M (2005) Measuring values with the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey. Journal of personality assessment 85(2): 170–178.

Martiz J (2012) Talent grab: How top companies are managing Africa’s skills shortage. Available from:

Meglino BM and Ravlin EC (1998) Individual Values in Organizations: Concepts, Controversies, and Research. Journal of Management 24(3): 351–389.

Mwale PN (2002) Where is the foundation of African gender? The case of Malawi. Nordic Journal of African Studies 11(1): 114–137.

Nunnally, J (1978) Psychometric Theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw – Hill Publishing.

Obbo C (1976) Dominant male ideology and female options: Three East African case studies. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 46(4): 371–389.

Ofori D and Wilson E (2010) Integrating corporate responsibility and stakeholder approaches into mainstream strategy: A stakeholder-oriented and integrative strategic management framework. The next generation responsible leaders, Pretoria, South Africa.

Okleshen M and Hoyt R (1996) A cross cultural comparison of ethical perspectives and decision approaches of business students: United States of America versus New Zealand. Journal of Business Ethics 15(5): 537–549.

Parguel B, Benoît-Moreau F and Larceneux F (2011) How sustainability ratings might deter ‘greenwashing’: a closer look at ethical corporate communication. Journal of Business Ethics 102(1): 15–28.

Pomering A and Johnson LW (2009) Advertising corporate social responsibility initiatives to communicate corporate image Inhibiting scepticism to enhance persuasion. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 14(4): 420–439.

Ruegger D and King EW (1992) A study of the effect of age and gender upon student business ethics Journal of Business Ethics 11:179-186.

Sankaran STB (2003) Relationship between student characteristics and ethics: Implication for educators. Journal of Instructional Psychology 30(3): 240–243.

Sen S and Bhattacharya CB (2001) Does doing good always lead to doing better? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility. Journal of Marketing Research 38(2): 225–243.

Sen S, Bhattacharya CB and Korschun D (2006) The role of corporate social responsibility in strengthening multiple stakeholder relationships: A field experiment. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34(2): 158–166.

Terpstra DE, Rozell EJ and Robinson RK (1993) The influence of personality and demographic variables on ethical decisions related to insider trading. The Journal of Psychology 127(4): 375–389.

Thomas KM and Wise PG (1999) Organizational attractiveness and individual differences: Are diverse applicants attracted by different factors? Journal of Business and Psychology 13(3): 375–390.

Tse ACB and Au AKM (1997) Are New Zealand Business Students More Unethical Than Non-Business Students? Journal of Business Ethics 16(4): 445–450.

Turban DB (2001) Organizational Attractiveness as an Employer on College Campuses: An Examination of the Applicant Population. Journal of Vocational Behavior 58(2): 293–312.

Turban DB and Greening DW (1997) Corporate social performance and organizational attractiveness to prospective employees. The Academy of Management Journal 40(3): 658–672.

Turban DB and Keon TL (1993) Organizational attractiveness: An interactionist perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology 78(2): 184–193.

Turker D (2009) Measuring corporate social responsibility: a scale development study. Journal of Business Ethics 85: 411–427.

Verquer ML, Beehr TA and Wagner SH (2003) A meta-analysis of relations between person– organization fit and work attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior 63: 473–489.

Visser W (2005) Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An African Perspective. In: M Huniche and Pedersen E. (eds), Corporate citizenship in developing countries: A new partnership perspective, Gylling Denmark: Narayana Press, pp. 29–56.

Waring P and Lewer J (2004) The impact of socially responsible investment on human resource management: A conceptual framework. Journal of Business Ethics 52: 99–108.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2000) Corporate social responsibility : making good business sense. World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Zhang L and Gowan MA (2012) Corporate social responsibility, applicants’ individual traits, and organizational attraction: A person–organization fit perspective. Journal of Business and Psychology 27(3): 345–362.