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Promoting sustainable community development through corporate social responsibility initiatives : a case study of a manufacturing organization in Zimbabwe.

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been identified and adopted by large businesses as a business strategy to enhance company performance. It is globally used to link business and society through sustainable development and good governance. Studies show that CSR in large firms, specifically in developing countries or emerging economies are under researched and is still associated with large firms from developed countries. Companies in emerging economies play a pivotal role in the economic development of their countries. The main objective of this study, is to ascertain how a manufacturing organisation is promoting sustainable community development by engaging CSR initiatives in an emerging country, like Zimbabwe. In particular, the study explores the perceptions large businesses have towards CSR, the drivers of CSR activities in the large firms and what they are engaging in to make a lasting impression in the communities where they are located. Furthermore, the study seeks to explore the benefits and challenges of implementing CSR initiatives and the strategies employed by the organizations to overcome some of the challenges they encounter, and to promote community development through these programs. A non-systematic literature review approach was conducted where insights were drawn from a wide range of secondary sources such as peer reviewed journal articles and non-peer reviewed publications on the topic. Qualitative research methods were used to collect primary data. An exploratory case study approach was adopted as a qualitative method technique to understand the benefits that are brought about by implementing CSR related strategies internally and externally by the organisation. Fourteen (n=14) managers were invited to participate in the study. Convenience sampling technique was used to select participants for the study. Content analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. The empirical findings reveal that the large business in the case acknowledged CSR as a business concept. The results indicated that their CSR activities are mainly hampered by the prevailing volatile economic environment, which is further strained by having a specific department or allocated manager to deal with CSR as a business strategy, minimal access to information and a shortage of manpower. Finally, the results revealed that the large business preferred to raise money through various internal and external programs and engage in partnerships with other large businesses as a solution to implement CSR initiatives in the surrounding communities. The government needs to introduce a regulatory framework in a policy that encourages large businesses to engage in CSR initiatives especially, considering the harsh economic environment. This approach will redefine the voluntary nature of CSR and mitigate some of the daily challenges that communities encounter in their pursuit for sustainable development.


Master of Commerce. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2017.