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Chapter one

1.1 Introduction:

Background of the study

Corporate Social Responsibility, a mostly American concept, has evolved into a major concern in Western Europe and other countries that follow the western development model.

According to Drucker (1986:66).The dispute over the concept of corporate social responsibility may be traced back to the wave of social value crisis that overtook America following World War II, particularly in the 1960s. The Chief Executive of General Motors, who witnessed the changing pattern, couldn’t help but notice:

“I am concerned about a society that has demonstrably lost confidence in its institutions – in the government, in the press, in the church, in the military, as well as in business” .

Business to America has had a very distinctive history. Its development, progress, and impact on social life in America since WWII are nearly universally acknowledged. What may not be widely known is that commerce, which has previously shaped and controlled the lives of millions of Americans over the last two centuries, is now facing a flood of objections from the many publics it serves.

The crisis of faith in company’s social role, as expressed in arguments about corporate social responsibility, reflects America’s perception of big business as a large, powerful machine that has gone out of control.

And efforts to regulate and, at the very least, re-orient its directions are central to the argument of all those who push businesses to adapt to changing times.

In other words, to de-emphasize its much-touted profit maximisation credo and instead focus on the human lives and environment that it is gradually, relentlessly, and almost certainly grinding out of existence.

One of the protagonists has described the concept of corporate social responsibility as a crude blend of long-term profit-making and charity, an ideology that combines social values with profit maximisation ambitions.

In the early years of the American Republic, particularly during the post-civil war reconstruction period, commerce in America was nearly unavoidable as a powerful social tool for harnessing resources and assuring material prosperity.

Ducker (1986: 66). However, as time passed and businesses continued to concentrate and centralise capital, their influence in the economy grew larger and more prevalent. At the height of prosperity, industry captains were hailed as social heroes.

A different story emerged in the years following WWII. Following the end of World War II, the boom phase was quickly replaced by a series of depressions and crises that would shake the very underpinnings of society on which business was built.

The challenging economic situation, which included inflation, unemployment, diminishing profits, declining investment, environmental degradation, and so on, compelled Americans to re-examine practically all of their old beliefs and the assumptions that underpin them.

According to Drucker (1986:96), the argument over corporate social responsibility was not limited to the United States of America. The debate’s clamour spread to other countries with similar business cultures to America, particularly those in Western Europe.

While Western European nations have responded positively to the debate, accepting and even implementing some of their own far-reaching findings, it is important to understand whether the talks and conclusions achieved thus far have had an impact on the countries’ periphery.

One of the goals of this research is to see how far the present debate on corporate social responsibility and its conclusions have spread, particularly to Nigeria’s periphery, and how enterprises that have launched on such programmes in Nigeria are using them.

The researcher believes that, while the current level of industrialization does not qualify us to discuss the issue on the same level as the industrialised western economies, the fact that they are imitating their path to industrialization should imply that we should closely examine their experience in order to avoid mistakes.

It is also said that foreign corporations operating in host countries, particularly in Third World countries, are more inclined to give lip service to ideas such as corporate social responsibility, which are likely to benefit their host countries.

Local or indigenous organisations may also fail to uphold the notion of corporate social responsibility to their communities.

Nowadays, social responsibility in business focuses on what could or might be done to address and alleviate societal challenges. The emphasis is on how they can contribute to social concerns such as protecting and restoring the physical environment, racial prejudice, and socioeconomic inequality.

In order to meet its business aims and objectives, the organisation cannot operate in isolation from its surroundings.

Corporate social responsibility performance does not aim to increase short-term profits, but rather to meet long-term social requirements, goals, and profits.

Organisations that adopt this view of corporate social responsibility feel that if they follow the law and the expectations of their host community, they are socially responsible.

Due to the immensity of this topic – corporate social responsibility – we will have to limit our inquiry to manageable dimensions by focusing on the Nigerian telecommunications sector, specifically Globacom Nigeria Limited.

The telecommunications industry is one of Nigeria’s fastest expanding sectors. Nigeria has a large number of telecommunications firms controlled by both foreign and indigenous corporations.

These telecommunication sectors have spread across Nigeria, from the country’s cities to its rural parts. As a result, the researcher chose one of the many telecommunications businesses to investigate its corporate social responsibility programme.

The researcher has selected to focus on Globacom Nigeria Limited, Enugu Zone, and investigate its corporate social responsibility operations to assess how the company has progressed in fulfilling its social obligation in the host community.

1.2 Statement of Problem:

In recent years, there have been a number of disputes, debates, and conflicts among businessmen, academics, government officials, and the general public about what should be the primary goals of corporate operations.

Managers have long ignored the difficulties that corporations cause in their host communities. These challenges pose a significant threat and can make living tough for these communities.

The privilege granted to organisations to operate in society arises from the fact that society feels there is a reciprocal interdependence between them, i.e. the organisation and society.

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