The Symbiotic Relationship between HRM Practices and Employee Well-Being: A Corporate Social Responsibility Perspective

Authored by: Nicole Renée Baptiste

The Ashgate Research Companion to Corporate Social Responsibility

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754647775
eBook ISBN: 9781315612843
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043812


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This chapter discusses the symbiotic relationship that exists between human resource management (HRM) practices and employee well-being in organisations from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective. The chapter is primarily theoretically oriented and does not go into empirical studies. It gives an in-depth understanding of the relationship between HRM practices and employee well-being and what an organisation can do to promote the well-being of their employees, the key stakeholder. With this in mind, it is imperative that companies convince their key stakeholder (employees) that they are serious about CSR by demonstrating through HRM policies, effective line management leadership practices, good governance and ethical practices that the organisation mission, goals and objectives are to achieve the desired social, environmental and ethical outcomes. Therefore CSR will be demonstrated through the ethical behaviour of a company towards employees by management acting responsibly in their relationships with employees who have a legitimate interest in the business. Doukakis (2004) suggests that CSR is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large. Therefore, it is the employees, rather than the board or a consultancy firm, who carry the main burden of responsibility for implementing ethical corporate behaviour in the daily working life of the company (Collier and Esteban 2007). The achievement of those outcomes depends on employees’ willingness to reciprocate and collaborate with positive attitudinal and behavioural characteristics. Gaining full support from employees and ensuring that they are motivated and committed to obtaining company objectives places challenges and complexity on line management leadership in the implementation of HRM policies within the organisation. The author argues that line managers’ people-management strategies should involve, firstly, effective leadership through social exchanges with employees to generate support and develop trust; secondly, implementation of HRM practices; and, thirdly, promotion of a healthy organisational climate that is unique and conducive to employee motivation which in turn promotes well-being amongst workers to deliver on corporate performance. It is argued that the fundamental principles of CSR to promote employee commitment, job satisfaction and work/life balance satisfaction amongst employees is complex and multi-faceted and is based on the symbiotic relationship between corporate contextual factors (line managers’ leadership practices; implementation of HRM policies; perceived organisational support and trust) and by employee reciprocation through positive attitudinal and behaviour characteristics that leads to enhanced key performance outcomes. The perspective discussed in this chapter is an individual employee perspective and not an organisational perspective. This places employees at the ‘steering wheel’ of organisations’ policy formulation and strategic orientation.

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