This study examines to what extent perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) reduces employee cynicism, and whether trust plays a mediating role in the relationship between CSR and employee cynicism. Three distinct contributions beyond the existing literature are offered. First, the relationship between perceived CSR and employee cynicism is explored in greater detail than has previously been the case. Second, trust in the company leaders is positioned as a mediator of the relationship between CSR and employee cynicism. Third, we disaggregate the measure of CSR and explore the links between this and with employee cynicism. Our findings illustrate that the four distinct dimensions of CSR of Carroll (economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary) are indirectly linked to employee cynicism via organizational trust. In general terms, our findings will help company leaders to understand employees’ counterproductive reactions to an organization, the importance of CSR for internal stakeholders, and the need to engage in trust recovery.
- CSR dimensions (economic, legal, ethical, discretionary)
- Social exchange