The implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives within companies is often managed by a CSR leader or a small team of CSR leaders. The effectiveness of these CSR leaders depends to a large extent on their competencies. Previous studies have identified the competencies these professionals need, yet it remains unclear how these competencies can be developed. Therefore, the aim of this survey study was to reveal how CSR leaders develop their competencies and to explore which learning activities CSR leaders (N = 176) engage in. The results showed that informal learning activities that center on learning with and from peers outside the company are particularly emphasized. In addition, this study examines whether and how dimensions of companies’ learning climates (i.e., facilitating, awarding, and error-avoiding learning climates) and CSR leaders’ learning goal orientation (LGO) affect the competence of CSR leaders. We found significant interaction effects between the learning climate dimensions. Furthermore, we found an even stronger and positive connection between LGO and CSR competence, highlighting the importance of attracting CSR leaders with a strong LGO for driving the CSR implementation process. Moreover, a supportive learning climate further stimulates CSR leaders’ engagement in continuous learning, which is necessary for coping with the complexities associated with implementing CSR.
- Corporate social responsibility competence
- CSR implementation
- CSR leaders
- Learning climate
- Learning goal orientation