Purpose: Leveraging the power of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is strategically important to corporations. Although various studies have explored the positive effects of CSR, few have been devoted to the investigation of CSR related to service employees from the internal marketing perspective. Therefore, this study fills this research gap by developing a conceptual model based on social influence theory to explain how internal CSR initiatives affect service employees' attitudes and behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: This study develops and empirically tests a theoretical model examining the impact of internal CSR initiatives (i.e. internal dissemination of and management support for CSR) on service employees' attitudes toward an organization (i.e. employee–company identification and value congruence), which ultimately enhance their organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) toward customers, other employees and the organization. Survey data from 271 frontline employees of service firms actively involved in CSR-related activities were examined with structural equation modeling. Findings: The results suggest that perceived internal dissemination of and management support for CSR affect service employees' citizenship behaviors toward customers, other employees and the organization through the mediation of employee–company identification and value congruence. Practical implications: Internal CSR initiatives are highly related to service employees' various OCBs that are beneficial to improving the service performance of firms. Therefore, it is imperative for companies to devote attention to internal marketing dissemination while promoting CSR. In addition, as managers' attitudes and behaviors trickle down to employees, service supervisors' support of CSR activities plays a significant role in forming employee perceptions of a firm's CSR dedication. Originality/value: This study represents one of the first to view internal CSR initiatives as an effective internal marketing lever. Moreover, the relationship between internal CSR initiatives and service employees' OCBs – OCB toward customers, other employees and the organization – is proposed and tested with an empirical model, providing significant contributions.
- Corporate social responsibility
- Internal CSR initiatives
- Organizational citizenship behaviors
- Social influence theory