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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 13838
Does CSR attract us? Empirical evidence from Finnish Business Schools
Author: Englund, Polina
Title: Does CSR attract us? Empirical evidence from Finnish Business Schools
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; maine; reputation; brandit; brands
Pages: 102
Key terms: corporate social responsibility; CSR; organizational attractiveness; corporate reputation; employer branding; prospective employees
A talented, competent and motivated workforce is considered as a competitive advantage and an important contributor to a company's success in the market. Nowadays in the fight for the best human resources companies must meet the challenge in attracting and retaining freshly graduated business students. Some studies suggest that corporate social responsibility (CSR) may act as a signal of a company's values, working conditions and environment, enhance the corporate image and reputation of a company in the eyes of prospective employees and, thus, provide competitive advantage in attracting applicants.

The present study investigates whether CSR activities and initiatives of a company influence students from Finnish business schools in their choice of prospective employers. Also the study aims to identify whether CSR contributes to a stronger employer brand establishing. The conceptual framework is based on earlier theoretical and empirical studies. In exploring relationships between CSR, corporate reputation and organizational attractiveness, the paper draws upon three theories, namely: social identity theory, signaling theory and person-organization fit perspective.

Empirical research was conducted by applying within-method of data triangulation, which refers to using several data sources within a quantitative method. The first set of data was collected from students of two business schools via an online questionnaire and used for hypotheses testing. The data from the second source was presented in the form of statistical reports provided by Universum and was utilized mainly for crosschecking purpose in order to increase reliability and validity of research findings.

Results of the study indicate three major findings. First, CSR has significant effect on business students' initial perception of a company as well as their decision to work there. Second, person-organization fit has impact on the relation between CSR and organizational attractiveness, meaning that the existence of CSR programs in a company can improve the match between students' and company's values and, thus, increase the attractiveness of a company as a prospective place for employment. Third, different CSR dimensions carry different perceived values for business students. CSR initiatives in the employee dimension are valued the most, and, therefore, have the strongest influence on organizational attractiveness. Though the present study did not reveal a direct association between CSR and strong employer brand, nevertheless, the findings suggest that business students in Finland unconsciously choose to work for socially responsible companies that heavily invest in CSR initiatives aiming to provide support, good work-life balance and opportunities for development of their employees.
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