Original Research

Bank employees’ engagement in corporate social responsibility initiatives at a South African retail bank

Vincent C. Penn, Peta H. Thomas
Acta Commercii | Vol 17, No 1 | a379 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v17i1.379 | © 2017 Vincent C. Penn, Peta H. Thomas | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2016 | Published: 30 June 2017

About the author(s)

Vincent C. Penn, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Peta H. Thomas, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Many firms encourage employees to undertake corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. With any project, it is important that firm resources are committed to create valued outcomes for stakeholders.
Research purpose: The study purpose was to gain insight into criteria that can practically help define the success of employee run CSR projects.
Motivation for the study: CSR activities are reported in literature as creating valuable intangible and tangible assets for firms when planned as strategies to improve brand reputation, customer loyalty and future profit. This research reviews a South African retail bank that promotes CSR undertakings to employees exploring the bank’s support for employees engaged in CSR.
Research design, approach and method: Two of the bank’s completed community CSR projects were identified by the bank’s senior CSR managers for this review. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with employees, bank CSR managers and project recipients. Participant interviews were transcribed into text then analysed to identify where stakeholder value diminished on these projects.
Main findings: The study found that this bank’s CSR processes do not fully support the employees, detrimentally affecting the ability of the employees to optimise project outcomes.
Practical or managerial implication: Because employee CSR efforts are often aligned with a firm’s value creation strategies, optimising the project management of employee CSR activities can improve the value of the outcomes achieved.
Contribution or value add: Determining specific conditions that influence successful project management of employee CSR projects can help to improve the potential of CSR projects in co-creating optimised value for stakeholders.


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