Skip to Main Content

Maddy OngMaddy Ong
University of Michigan

Does Working for a Socially Responsible Organization Make Employees More or Less Prosocial? The Role of Work Meaning in Reconciling the Moral Licensing Versus consistency Debate

Results from three studies (two field studies and one experiment) show a positive effect of working in socially responsible organizations on prosocial behavior when employees view their work as meaningful. However, when employees lack work meaning, there is a negative effect of working in socially responsible organizations on prosocial behavior.


Madeline (Maddy) Ong is a PhD Candidate in Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Her research focuses on business ethics and corporate social responsibility. She uses a combination of laboratory experiments and field survey research methods in her research.

Her main research program focuses on understanding the relationship between employees’ prosocial behavior and their organizations’ social responsibility.
One of her projects investigates how socially responsible businesses can either positively or negatively influence their employees’ prosocial behavior, depending on employees’ work meaning. Another project investigates how employees can best advocate for ethical or social justice issues (e.g., environmental issues, diversity issues) in corporations.

Her second research program focuses on the moral judgments that individuals make at work. For example, she is working on some projects that look at how people punish or forgive unethical transgressions committed by their coworkers and their leaders.

Connect with Ivey Business School