Examining the public policy perspective of CSR implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Samy, M ; Ogiri, HI ; Bampton, R (2015)

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the public policy perspective of corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa. There has been an increase in the number of countries adopting a national policy for CSR practice, particularly in the Western society. Despite the growing awareness about the role of government in CSR promotion, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are yet to evolve policies that could help promote CSR in the region. As drivers of CSR, governments hold resources, like access to regulated parts of society that makes the inclusion of CSR opportunities relevant to strategic and operational management. From the extant literature, the role of government in defining and shaping the field of CSR is gaining wider acceptability. Design/methodology/approach - Using a qualitative research approach, this paper examines the current status of CSR implementation, particularly from the public policy perspective in selected Sub-Saharan African countries. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with policymakers and policy implementers. The study adopted a thematic analysis and developed a rigorous phenomenological design to reveal the insights to CSR policy-making. Findings - The findings established that the status of CSR implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa is influenced by absence of national CSR policy, CSR being mainstreamed in government constitution and CSR being a company initiative action to comply with international code of business conduct. Practical implications - The results of this study could have policy implications for both executive and MPs of national governments for CSR regulatory policies. Originality/value - In most developing countries, including Sub-Saharan African countries, the aforementioned institutional conditions are often an exception. There are both no legal and regulatory frameworks for Multinational Corporation activities and their socio-ecological impact, or such regulations may exist but are not adequately enforced (Rwabizambuga, 2007). This situation, unfortunately, has created a huge reporting gap between what organisations do and what they report regarding CSR. Hence, this original study adds to the body of knowledge for this region by revealing the central issues around the phenomenon.
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