Debra R. Comer and Elizabeth A. Cooper
Increasingly, corporate philanthropy includes not only monetary donations, but also employees' service contributions to community projects. Using concepts from role theory, th!s paper proposes that employees' readiness to volunteer interacts with their perceived link betweencompany-sponsored community service and salient organizational rewards and resources to moderate the impact of their community service participation on their job attitudes and on the community recipients they serve. Specifically, we propose that to the extent that employees have lower readiness to volunteer, their compliance with community service role expectations so as not to forfeit organizationalrewards will increase their person-role conflict, which will, in turn, negatively affect their job satisfaction and organizational commitment and their treatment of community recipients; and to the extent that employees have higher readiness to volunteer, they will, regardless of their perceptions of the link between service and organizational rewards, derive from their company-sponsored communityservice a sense of person-role congruence that will enhance their job satisfaction and organizational commitment and foster their caring and helpfulness toward community recipients.
Re-Imagining Business Ethics: Meaningful Solutions for a Global Economy, Volume 4, pages 145-168. Copyright © 2002 by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. ISBN: 0-7623-0955-5
DEBRA R. COMER AND ELIZABETH A. COOPER INTRODUCTION
Not much more than a mere century ago, corporate philanthropy of any type was plainly illegal; and in 1953, philanthropic activity that could not be tied directly to corporate advancement was still questioned (Sharfman, 1994). Even as recently as 1970, Friedman argued that corporate attention to social activities would strain profits.However, the federal government's reduction of funds for the arts, education, and other social services prompted private industry to increase its social spending (Ettorre, 1995; Himmelstein, 1997; Makower, 1994; Stendardi, 1992). Today, firms' philanthropic contributions "are d e e m e d . . , to be the quintessence of socially responsible business behavior" (Epstein, 1989, p. 586). Althoughcorporate philanthropy typically involves monetary grants, it can also entail "making employees at all levels available for work in relevant communities" (Ettorre, 1995, p. 34). In effect, pro bono work, generally associated with law firms, is spreading to other kinds of businesses (Alperson, 1996; Filipowski, 1993; McKaughan, 1995; Romano, 1994). Shrinking corporate coffers have led firms to contributeto communities with employees' efforts rather than dollars (Alperson, 1996; Filipowski, 1993; Urban, 1997). Moreover, company leaders have recognized that it is necessary to provide volunteer labor as well as money to make an impact in their communities (Davidson, 1994; Finney, 1997). This shift from predominantly cash grants in the 1980s to greater service giving in the 1990s has been described aspart of a "new paradigm of corporate philanthropy" (Corporate Philanthropy Report, 1997), and coincides with a national movement toward community service. Volunteering by individual citizens, a keystone of American democracy (de Tocqueville, 1840; Ellis & Noyes, 1978; Van Til, 1988), is on the rise; in 1995, 93 million Americans performed some type of volunteer service (Trends in Giving, 1996).Brown (1996) estimated that these volunteers gave more than nine billion hours of their time, and that the value of their service to recipients totaled between 67 and 96 billion dollars. Following this trend, schools are increasingly involving students in service learning projects (Johnson, 1998; Markus et al., 1993; Morton & Troppe, 1996; Smith, 1994; Zlotkowski, 1996). Recent popular press...