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Keywords:THE EFFECT OF ECOBANK CARES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN IKORODU (LAGOS) ON THE IMAGE OF THE BANK FROM 2009-2013
1.1 Background to the Study
Today, companies are faced with societal pressure and there is a paradigm shift in the perception of stakeholder that companies is expected to act as a responsible citizen towards their community. And that community development is part of the socio corporate responsibility of the company. This therefore necessitated the changes in the way most company’s act toward developing the community in which they operate. Corporate community development or corporate social responsibility has thus become part of the corporate social responsibilities of all companies in both developed and developing countries of the world.
Corporate social responsibility as a concept entails the practice whereby corporate entities voluntarily integrate both social and environment upliftment in their business philosophy and operations (Emmanuel Ocran 2011). Although corporate social responsibility means different things to different people, but despite the fluidity of the concept, I hereby subscribe to the definition of Michael Hopkins (2004) that CSR is concerned with treating the stakeholders of the firm ethically or in a responsible manner. ‘ethically or responsible’ means treating stakeholders in a manner deemed acceptable in civilized societies. Social includes economic responsibility. Stakeholders exist both within a firm and outside. The natural environment is a stakeholder.
More so, the wider aim of social responsibility is to create higher and higher standards of living, while preserving the profitability of the corporation, for peoples both within and outside the corporation. CSR therefore involves a business identifying its stakeholder groups and incorporating their needs and values within the strategic and day-to-day decision-making process, thus a means of analyzing the inter-dependent relationships that exist between businesses, the economic systems and the communities within which they are operating.
A search of literature reveals that corporate community development is a prerequisite for enhancing corporate image. Jeremy Moon and Judy Muthuri (2004) opined that corporate community investment has a wide range of benefits from enhancingcompany’s image and reputation to increased skills development of employees and increase financial income to charities. Godfrey, (2005) cited in Jeremy and Judi (2004) acknowledged that engaging in community investment is seen as the „right thing to do‟ and helps to build a firm’s moral and reputational capital. It further says that community development program can help lower transaction costs, enhance social legitimacy and preserve the license to operate. Community investment contributes to improving the companies‟ public image, brand identity Rochlin and Christoffer( 2000).
In his analysis on why companies engaged in corporate social responsibility Michael Hopkins (2004) argues that “companies that are socially responsible in making profits also contribute to some, although obviously not all, aspects of social development. Every company should not be expected to be involved in every aspect of social development that would be ludicrous and unnecessarily restrictive. But for a firm to be involved in some aspects, both within the firm and on the outside, will make its products and services (for example financial services) more attractive to consumers as a whole, therefore making the company more profitable, there will be increased costs to implement CSR, but the benefits are likely to far outweigh the costs.”
Studies have shown many companies engaged in corporate social responsibility in the Uk and other developed country of the world. Following the historical analysis of corporate community investment trends in the Uk companies, one would see the likes of compass group, yell group, Sainsbury Plc, Northern Rock Plc to mention few, all these companies have tailored their community involvement initiatives to meet the needs and aspirations of their individual clients, and at the same time those of the group (Jeremy and Judi 2004).
In Nigeria, most multinational companies were equally involved in one forms of corporate social responsibility or the other. The likes of chevron oil company,NNPC, Agip oiletcare living examples in this regard.
This study is another examination of the company involved in corporate social responsibility in Nigeria. This research therefore examines the effect of Ecobank cares community development program in the image making of the bank within the period 2009-2013.
Since the inception in 1986,Ecobank Nigeria, a subsidiary of Africa’s leading independent banking group, Ecobank transnational incorporated (ETI) has engaged in corporate social responsibility activities through which it reaches out to touch its host community and the lager society.Ecobank prides itself as an organization that is consistently give back or contribute effectively towards the society in which the bank operates. The area which features Ecobank interest towards corporate social responsibility includes entrepreneurial development especially in rural communities, education, health and community development at large.
Among the highlights of corporate social responsibility of Ecobank activities in Lagos state in the year 2007-2013 is the donation to Neuro-psychiatric hospital Yaba, Lagos in support of hospital project(centenary celebrations). Ecobank in the same year also donates Hilux double cabin buses to Lagos state government to Combact crimes.
Similarly in 2008, Ecobank contributes to support WODEF(women optimum development foundation), sponsorshipof entrepreneur TV series, and sponsorship of the idols West Africa among others. Ecobank did not relent in its effort to contribute to the development of its immediate environment. In 2010, Ecobank featured in the renovation of kings college hall in Lagos, equally promoted a project called Ecobank cares through donation to orphanages. For human capital development and the advancement of the overall Nigerian economy, the education sector has continually received support of the bank.
In 2008, the bank partnered with the Lumia foundation as sole sponsors of the Wole Soyinka literary youth awareness project to the tune of #9,000,000.00(nine million naira). The project saw to the distribution of free books to selected underprivileged schools within Lagos; awards to amateur writers and many more.
From the foregoing, it is expected that these entire aforementioned project carried out byEcobank towards its immediate environment is of their corporate social responsibility and therefore expected to have enhanced company’s image both within and outside the country.The interest of the researcher therefore is to determine if all above mentioned community development initiatives or corporate social responsibility has any impact on the image of the bank.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The essential roles of corporate social responsibility to the survival of the company and its stakeholder cannot over-emphasize. The community in turn has the expectation that company will take active steps to assist solve some of its social problems. As such, Ecobank Nigeria (Ikorodu, Lagos Branch) had taken corporate social responsibility as corporate philanthropy aimed at addressing socio-economic development challenges of the people in its immediate community. This is seen in the various community development program embarked upon by the company. But then the question remain that, what impact does this program have on the image of bank?
It is against this background that motivates the interest of the researcher to find out how corporate social responsibility of the Ecobank impacted on the image of the bank between (2009-2013).
1.3 Research Objectives
The overall objectives of this study is to examine what extent Ecobank carries out its corporate social responsibility on Ikorodu community in Lagos state and examine this how has impacted the image of the company.
Specific objectives include:
- To examine the corporate social responsibility policy of Ecobank.
- To investigate the motives behind Ecobank to carry out its community cares program in the local community
- To examine various types of program carried out by Ecobank in Ikorodu community.
- To examine the perception of the Ikorodu inhabitants towards the various corporate social responsibilities programs of Ecobank.
- To investigate how corporate socio responsibility program of Ecobank influenced the image of the bank.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of this study, the following questions were put forward;
- What does Ecobank corporate social responsibility policy contain?
- What motivates the company to carry out its community cares program in the local community?
- What are the various types of program carried out by Ecobank in Ikorodu community?
- How does an Ikorodu inhabitant perceive towards the various corporate social responsibilities programs of Ecobank?
- How does corporate socio responsibility program of Ecobank impact the image of the bank?
1.5 Significance of the Study
To start with, my propelling interest in choosing this topic was the view that company needs to be seen by the local community as the supportive of the social environment in which they operate. There is equally a growing concern and expectation from the community about the need for company to engage in corporate social responsibility activities where they operate. A local community has a strong impact on the on the survival of business since business derives some of its input from like human capital from the community.
Therefore, there is need to examine or investigate the extent to which corporate social responsibility has impacted the community and how the programs have enhanced the image of the company. This research will go a long way in showing the nexus and increased the relationship between company and the community in which they operate. This study is equally justified on the ground that it will serve book of reference to most managers and stakeholders of multinational companies to always see CSR as part of their social activities. This finding of this studywill serve as crystal guide to scholars, researcher and students who might want to further study on this topic.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is not expected to span beyond investigating the impact of Ecobank cares community development program otherwise known as CSR in Ikorodu Lagos state. It therefore examines the Bank programs within the period 2009-2013.
1.7 Limitation of the study
There are some anticipated hiccups and challenges which may constitutes the difficulties to the credibility of this research study, this may include the openness and frankness of the management of Ecobank and other stakeholders from the community in addressing the question posed to them. Equally, finance and time frame allotted for this study is equally a limitation to the credibility of this research.
1.8 Structure of the study
This research is structured into five chapters. Chapter one covers the background to the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions scope and limitations of the study. In chapter two, an attempt will be made to review all existing literatures and theoretical framework underpinning such concept as CSR, why company needs to engage in it as well as various theories such as classical business theory, social contract theory, etc. Various CSR programs of the bank will also be reviewed. Chapter three will therefore discuss the research methodology adopted for this study. while chapter analyses all the result of the collected for this study, chapter five which is the final chapter shall summarizes, conclude and make meaning recommendations.
Keywords: THE EFFECT OF ECOBANK CARES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN IKORODU (LAGOS) ON THE IMAGE OF THE BANK FROM 2009-2013
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