CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SOCIAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT USING BANKING AND TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES
In the Nigerian society, Corporate Social Responsibilities [CSR] has been a highly cotemporary and contextual issue to all stakeholders including the government, the corporate organization itself, and the general public. The public contended that the payment of taxes and the fulfillment of other civic rights are enough grounds to have the liberty to take back from the society in terms of CSR undertaken by other stakeholders. Some ten year ago, what characterized the Nigerian society was fragrant pollution of the air, of the water and of the environment. Most corporate organizations are concerned about what they can take out of the society, and de-emphasized the need to give back to the society [their host communities]. This attitude often renders the entire community uninhabitable. A case in mind is the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. This translated to negative integrity and reputation on the part of corporate identity as people perceived this as exploitation and greed for profitability and wealth maximization within a decaying economy of Nigeria. However, the general belief is that both business and society gain when firms actively strive to be socially responsible; that is, the business organizations gain in enhanced reputation, while society gains from the social projects executed by the business organization. In modern day however, having seen the benefits and average favorable pay-back period of their investment in CSR, corporations are now seriously involved in this project, which had impacted in the society wonderfully and profitably. This study is therefore, intended to consider the imperative and benefits of CSR on the Nigeria society. The perceived gap supposedly created is harnessed and investigated for possible resolution, using the banking and communication industries as a case study. The research approach is both descriptive and analytical. Data collected for this study are from both primary and secondary sources, relying heavily on the relevant information available from both banking and communication sectors, and other sources. Tests were conducted using both regression and correlation analysis. The regression result reveals a strong and significant relationship between CSR and Societal Progress such that the relationship between CSR and Societal Progress is statistically significant. It is thus conclusion that CSR plays a significant role in Societal Progressiveness in terms of environmental and economic growth. The study recommends that, while improvement in the depth of participation by banking and telecommunication industries in economic and environmental development is desirable, they are encouraged to close ranks and forge common interest in addressing certain social responsibilities, especially those bothering on security and technological advancement of the polity.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
At an earlier point in history, societal expectations from business organizations did not go beyond efficient resource allocation and its maximization. But today, it has changed and modern business must think beyond profit maximization toward being at least socially responsible to its society. Today’s heightened interest in the role of business in society has been promoted by increased sensitivity to the awareness of environmental and ethical issues. It means our society has become increasingly concerned that greater influence and progress by firms has not been accompanied by equal effort and desire in addressing important social issues including problems of poverty, drug abuse, crime, improper treatment of workers, faulty production output and environmental damage or pollution by the industries as it has overtime been reported in the media. It is therefore very essential for all to realize that public outcry for increased social responsibility will not disappear if business organizations fail to respond to the challenges these had posed for the society.
In view of the perceived information gap, it is therefore worthwhile collating and aggregating in a more organized manner, the contributions of Nigerian corporations [using banking and communications industries as a focus] to the well-being of the society. This is necessary if only to show, in a graphic and mathematical ways that the industries seriously identify with the aspirations of the communities and the general public. In the early years of this century, two Americans independently and without knowing of each other were among the first businessmen in the world’s history to initiate major community reforms.
Andrews Carnegie preached and financed the free public library. Julius Rosenwald fathered the country farm agent system and adopted the infant 4-H CLUBS. Carnegie was already retired from business and one of the world’s richest men. Rosenwald who had recently bought a near bankrupt mail order firm called Sear Roebuck and Company, was only beginning to build both his business and fortune. The two held basically different philosophies. Carnegie believed that the sole purpose of being rich is to be a philanthropist, that is, the “social responsibility of wealth”. Rosenwald believed that you have to be able to do good to do well, that is, the “social responsibility of business”. J. Irwin miller of the Cummins Engine Co. Ltd in Columbus, Indiana, has systematically used corporate funds to create a healthy community which, at the same time is a direct, though intangible investment in a healthy environment for his company. Miller specifically aimed at endowing his small industrial town with the ‘quality of life’ that would attract to it the managerial and technical people on whom a big high-technology business depends.
Only if business and particularly Nigerian business learns that to do well it has to do good, can we hope to tackle the major challenges facing developing societies today. The economic realities ahead are such that ‘social needs’ can be financed increasingly only if their solution generates commensurate earning which precisely is what business is known for. We can actually say firms involved in Corporate Social Responsibility are actually not regretting because of the increase it has made on their sales leading to profit and how they have impacted the environment. The significance of corporate social responsibility as a vital tool for the societal progressiveness cannot be over emphasized. This can be seen from the points of view of showing concern for the welfare of the community in order to reap peace, competent and cheaper manpower, a platform for a better community; by making the host community worthy of livelihood in terms of infrastructural development; and by boosting their image, reducing advert cost, gaining an edge over competitors, and making your name as a firm an household name in the society.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In recent years there have been series of arguments, debates and controversies among businessmen, academics, government officials and the society in general on what should be the principle objectives of business enterprises. Over the years, managers have neglected the problems created by corporate firms to their host communities. These problems possess a lot of threat and sometimes make life difficult for these communities. The privilege giving to organization to operate in the society stems from the fact that society believes that there is a mutual interdependency existing between them, that is, the organization and the society. The relationship between organizations and their host community has become increasingly important. Despite the roles played by organizations carrying out corporate social responsibility and the growing importance of social responsibility, the following issues have not been fully addressed:
i. Why should organizations be socially responsible to their environment?
ii. What benefits do organizations get from performing its corporate social responsibility?
iii. Why is social responsibility considered as a waste drain of business resources?
iv. Are organizations in Nigeria socially responsible?
In view of the perceived information gap, it is therefore worthwhile collating and aggregating in a more organized manner, the contributions of Nigerian corporations [using banking and communications industries as a focus] to the well-being of the society.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To which degree are CSR commitments successfully enacted in practice?
2. Is CSR perceived as a meaningful tool for social and economic development?
3. What are the opportunities and limitations of CSR?
4. What are the factors responsible for the adoption of corporate social responsibility.
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study has been to evaluate some of the opportunities and limitation for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to improve the socio-economic development of Lagos Society with examples of banking and telecommunication industries The main objective of this study has been to compare statements and codes of conducts of companies (MTN and GTBank) involved with the findings of a worker interview study. In doing this, the study evaluates which factors of corporate responsibility that translates into perceived social or economic development and to which degree are they implemented. The specific objectives of the study are to:
i. Ascertain the degree at which CSR commitments is successfully enacted in practice
ii. Determine if CRS is perceived as a meaningful tool for social and economic development.
iii. identify the opportunities and limitations of CRS.
iv. Examine the factors responsible for the adoption of corporate social responsibility.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
In pursuit of the objective of identifying the effectiveness and workability of corporate social responsibility, the following hypotheses have been formulated, which intend to test in the course of this study:
Ho: CSR commitments are not successfully enacted in practice.
Hi: CSR commitments successfully enacted in practice.
Ho: CSR is not perceived as a meaningful tool for social and economic development.
Hi: CSR is perceived as a meaningful tool for social and economic development.