Can CSR be used to increase loyalty among Chinese employees in China? A study from a Western perspective

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: One of the largest difficulties faced by multinational firms operating in China is the high turnover rate among their Chinese employees. In fact, in 2013, it was rated by US firms to be a larger problem than for example restrictions on foreign investment, transparency and problems related to protection of intellectual property rights (USCBC, 2013). Studies have been made, which shows that other things than only monetary incentives can work to motivate Chinese employees, but there are still much research to be done in the area. Simultaneously, research on Western employees has shown that a company’s work with CSR can increase loyalty. Whether a possibility for the same connection of CSR and loyalty can be found in China, is a question which has not yet been properly addressed. This thesis therefore aims to provide a deeper understanding on whether there is a possibility for Western firms in China to use CSR as a way to increase loyalty among their Chinese employees. In order for the answers of this thesis to be applicable on a longer term perspective, the focus is not only on individuals who are currently employed, but also on future employees, i.e. mostly students. The questions aimed to be answered are; Can CSR strategies and implementation be used by Western firms which are active in China to increase loyalty of Chinese current and future employees? Is it important for Chinese current and future employees if their employer are behaving responsibly or not?The research for this thesis has been conducted through a qualitative online survey on Chinese citizens and trough an interview with a manager at a Western company in China. It is concluded that there are indications that Chinese find CSR important. There are however differences within the Chinese society which has an effect on the perception of CSR and its importance, and thereby on the possibility for Western firms to use CSR to increase loyalty. Lastly, findings from the survey show that there are differences between China and West in which types of CSR efforts are perceived to be most important.

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