AN ANALYSIS OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PRACTICES OF GSM OPERATORS IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Studies have revealed divergent views on corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially, with regard to its meaning and the way it is practiced by organisations around the globe. Meanwhile, while a lot of studies have been done to reveal how CSR is understood and practiced in the developed world, not much is known on how companies in the developing countries engage in CSR. It is in view of this fact that this study sought to find out how CSR is understood and practiced in the Nigerian GSM sector. The study went further to find out if GSM users in the South-Eastern part of the country are aware of CSR efforts of the GSM operators. This study met these twin purposes, using the exploratory mixed method design. The study was divided into two phases. Data for the first phase were collected through in-depth interviews of the CSR Managers of the four GSM operators, while questionnaire was used at the 2nd phase to collect data from GSM users (Sample size of 540). Data were analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The research was based on one theory (Stakeholder Theory) and two models (Carroll’s Four Part CSR Conceptualization Model; and Wood’s CSP Model). The research revealed that GSM operators in Nigeria include the four aspects of CSR stipulated by Carroll – economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic – in their CSR practices. This revelation led the study to conclude that the operators practice a total, mature and interactive CSR in the country. It was also discovered that majority of the respondents have knowledge of the philanthropic and economic CSR initiatives of the operators but lack knowledge of other aspects of CSR they engage in. Meanwhile, the respondents indicated interest in knowing all the CSR efforts of the operators. The study also revealed that knowledge of CSR activities of organisations, positively influence the attitudes of these consumers towards the companies. In view of the findings, the study recommends that the GSM operators should adopt more sophisticated communication strategies that would not only keep all stakeholders informed of their entire CSR efforts but also engage them at the implementation process.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title
Table of Contents
List of Tables and figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.1.1    Overview of the          GSM Sector in Nigeria
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Definition of Key Terms        
            REFERENCES

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility
2.2       History and Development of the Corporate Social Responsibility Concept
2.3       Drivers            of Corporate Social Responsibility
2.4       CSR Practice around the Globe
2.5       Corporate Social Responsibility Practice in Nigeria
2.6       Benefits of CSR
2.7       Engaging Stakeholders through Strategic CSR Communication
2.8       Theoretical Framework
2.8.1    The Stakeholder Theory
2.8.1.1 CSR Studies based on the Stakeholder theory
2.8.2    Carroll’s Four Part Conceptualization of CSR
2.8.3    Wood’s Corporate Social Performance (CSP) Model
2.8.4    Reconciling the Two Models
            REFERENCES

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Research Instruments
3.6       Validity/Reliability of measuring instruments
3.7       Method of Data Analysis       and Presentation
3.8       Limitations of Methodology
REFERENCES

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1.      Qualitative Data
            4.1.1. Research Question 1: What is the nature of CSR initiatives of the GSM service providers in Nigeria?
            4.1.2    Research Question 2: What principles motivate the GSM companies’ CSR efforts in Nigeria?
            4.1.3 Research Question 3: How do the GSM companies respond to CSR in the country?
4.2.      Quantitative Analysis (survey)
            4.2.1. Demographic Data
            4.2.2.   Analysis of respondents’ GSM usage
            4.2.3. Research Question Four: Do the GSM consumers know the CSR initiatives of the operators?
            4.2.4.   Research Question Five: How does knowledge of CSR efforts of the operators influence the consumers?
4.3       Discussion of Findings
            4.3.1    Research Question One: What is the understanding of CSR amongst the GSM operators in Nigeria?
            4.3.2    Research Question Two: What are the motivating principles behind CSR practice of the operators?
            4.3.3    Research Question Three: How do the GSM operators implement CSR in Nigeria?
            4.3.4    Research Question Four: Do the GSM consumers know the CSR initiatives of the operators?
            4.3.5    Research Question Five: How does knowledge of CSR efforts of the operators influence the consumers?
                        REFERENCES

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX

QUESTIONNAIRE


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1.   Background of the Study
In the past, businesses existed without having much pressure or expectations from the society but instead, organizations were seen as entities of profit maximization for shareholders. Today, events point to the fact that such trend has changed and businesses are expected to be socially responsible and to think beyond profit maximization, if they must survive (Onwuegbuchi, 2009). Globally, more companies have continued to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a worthwhile business practice. Meanwhile, despite wide acceptance of CSR, there are divergent views about its potential benefits and how it should be practiced, as would be seen later in this study. Various studies conducted in different countries, have shown that CSR is practiced differently, in different countries.


Also, the idea of companies engaging in corporate social responsibility has been attacked by some scholars, with Milton Friedman, at the forefront of the group. In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, written in 1962, Friedman condemned the view that companies should have a social responsibility that goes beyond serving the interest of their stockholders. In his opinion, managers should concentrate on making as much profit, as possible, for shareholders. He further argued that the claim that businesses should contribute to the support of charitable activities, is an “inappropriate use of corporate funds in a free enterprise society and a fundamental subversive doctrine” (Friedman 1962, p. 133).

Popular amongst those that believe in the spirit and principles of corporate social responsibility of companies is Kenneth Dayton, Chairman of Dayton Hudson Corporation. In his ‘Seegal-Macy Lecture’, delivered at the University of Michigan, 1975, he said: “We are not in business to make maximum profit for our shareholders but to serve society. Profit is our reward for doing it well. If business does not serve society, society will not tolerate our profits or even our existence” (Anderson 1989, p. 1).

There is also the argument that most social problems industries face today are contributed by business growth. Therefore, organisations are expected to contribute in solving them and failure to do this may cause the problems to get worse and organisations might not survive. Also, failure of corporations to be socially responsible may cause society to change business conditions, maybe through law changes or activities of pressure groups and this may make survival difficult for organisations.

Chiu and Hsu (2010), in a study, maintain that the early stage of 21st century experienced corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom in the U.S.; the infamous Rebar Group and Zanadau case in Taiwan, and such activities brought doubt to the credibility of companies. The study also notes that the increase in productivity by machinery automation has led to environmental destruction and increased resource consumption, which has attracted more attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Also, increased interest in CSR in recent years has been as a result of globalization and international trade, which have reflected in increased business complexity and new demands for enhanced transparency and corporate citizenship (Dima & Ramez, 2007; Parker, 2005; Rahul, 2008).

As noted earlier, scholars and practitioners are yet to agree on a consensus definition and practice of the CSR concept. However, for the purpose of this study, we shall subscribe to the definition provided by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). According to WBCSD, CSR is "the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families and the local communities" (WBCSD, 2001, p. 1). Therefore, the core idea of CSR is that organisations have an obligation to meet certain needs of their various stakeholders (Clarkson, 1995; Waddock et al., 2002).

Mobile communications, no doubt has become an integral part of our day-to-day life, mainly due to its convenience and value to life. Interestingly, Nigeria is included in the league of the largest mobile communications market in Africa. The Nigerian telecommunications industry was deregulated by the Federal Government in 2001, thereby ending NITEL’s monopoly over the sector and marking the entrance of private players.

However, Chiu and Hsu (2010) state that while consumers benefit from the use of mobile telecommunication, they also experience health and safety risks associated with base stations, exposure to electromagnetic fields, noise and air pollution etc. In view of the above mentioned negative implications of the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) operations in the society, it is expected that service providers should carry out their business responsibly, while contributing in ameliorating the effects of their operations on the society. This sector was chosen for this study because the growing rate of GSM use in Nigeria, and its attendant health and environmental concerns are always in public debate.

Most CSR studies found in the course of literature search for this study were done in developed countries. It is in the light of this that Belal (2001) suggests the need for more research on CSR practices in the ex-colonial, smaller, and emerging economies. Also, Dima and Ramez (2007, p. 244), reveal a “lingering academic curiosity about diverging CSR understanding and practice in the light of vastly different economic, social, and cultural conditions”. He concludes that “there is value added in exploring CSR conceptions and perceptions in a developing country context, and gauging the extent to which CSR practice in developing countries has matured beyond the boundaries of compliance and public relations (Dima & Ramez, 2007, p. 244).

It is on the heels of the foregoing that this study examined how the GSM companies operating in Nigeria understand and practice CSR, also highlighting the position of CSR within corporate structures. The study went further to discover the level of knowledge of CSR initiatives of the GSM operators by their consumers and the effect of such knowledge on the corporate image of the companies.

1.1.1 Overview of the GSM Sector in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) companies includes MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat. MTN Nigeria, which is part of the MTN Group, commenced operation on May 16, 2001. It was the first GSM network to.....

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