Internal corporate social responsibility and organizational creativity: An empirical study of Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises

Nhu Ngoc Nguyen, Phong Tuan Nham, Yoshi Takahashi


Purpose: The present study aims to investigate the relationship between internal corporate social responsibility (CSR), a type of CSR particularly for employees within organizations, and two types of innovation, that is, exploratory and exploitative innovation. The focus is on the mediating effects of affective commitment, knowledge sharing, and organizational creativity within the relationship.

Design/methodology/approach: This study’s data were collected in Vietnam via questionnaire survey. Regarding survey administration, first, we chose the five biggest universities, which specialize in economics and business in Hanoi. Then, from those universities, we randomly selected graduate classes whose students are full-time employees in various companies around Hanoi. The questionnaire included multi-items designed to measure factors. Each item was measured by 5 point Likert scale: 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Among 750 distributed questionnaires, 252 were returned. After screening and deleting those questionnaires with missing information or those from large companies, 212 remained for further investigation, representing 28.3% of the valid response rate. There are 130 manufacturing companies and 82 non-manufacturing companies in this sample. For the statistical analysis of the data, we follow the three-step procedure of exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and structural equation modeling.

Findings: This study successfully tests the empirical relationship between internal CSR and innovation by introducing the mediating effects of knowledge sharing, affective commitment, and organizational creativity. In other words, the results support our hypotheses that predict positive mediating effects, except for the relationship between training and development as one aspect of internal CSR and affective commitment, although training and development have an indirect relationship with innovation through knowledge sharing and, in turn, organizational creativity.

Originality/value: The study contributes to the literature on internal CSR, especially because it provides the new empirical evidence for the relationship between internal CSR and innovation, which has been vague in academic research up to now. In particular, by incorporating knowledge sharing, affective commitment, and organizational creativity, the relationship becomes clearer, more reliable, and comprehensive. We emphasize that the factors concerned are relevant to the case of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, because they often face difficulties implementing external CSR due to resource constraints.


affective commitment, innovation, internal CSR, knowledge sharing, organizational creativity, small and medium-sized enterprises

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience