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Title: Analysis of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and accountability practices in a developing country context : a study of mining industry in Tanzania
Author: Lauwo, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 9998
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2011
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This study focuses on corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in Tanzania, a developing country in East Africa. CSR has become one of the greatest challenges in the contemporary globalisation era. As corporate influences on the daily lives of people have increased in the global economy, sometimes more than those of elected governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and pressure groups have become sceptical of corporate power and increasingly concerned about the socio-economic and environmental consequences of corporate activities. Many corporations have sought to reassure public opinion by publishing corporate responsibility statements and codes of conduct. However, these have often been subordinate to pursuit of profit. Although an increasing volume of literature has sought to provide an understanding of CSR from a variety of competing theoretical perspectives, the literature has focused mainly on developed countries with relatively little scholarly attention being paid to CSR practices in developing countries, including Tanzania which forms the subject matter of this thesis. Previous CSR studies have tended to focus on individuals and have used theories such as agency, stakeholder and legitimacy. However, while such theories provide a useful framework for explaining and understanding the business-society relationship, they attach little explicit weight to the broader socio-political, economic and historical contexts which shape CSR practices. Thus, this study examines the nature and extent of CSR practices in Tanzania within a socio-political and economic context. It does so by adopting structuration theory in order to consider the duality and dialectical interrelationship between social actors and institutional structures which create, shape, influence and undermine the (re)production of CSR practices in a developing country. It considers the impact of globalisation, corporate power and the role of the developmental state on the conduct of responsible business practices in Tanzania. The study shows that in the context of globalisation that Tanzania's dependence on the international financial institutions and on investment by foreign multinational corporations has shaped and influenced Tanzania's socio-economic environment and institutional structures. Thus, the institutional structures in Tanzania have been shaped by global pressures, in particular by the desire to attract capital in order to deal with Tanzania's endemic poverty. As a result, the Tanzanian government's capacity to promote public accountability, good governance, transparency and corporate responsibility has been seriously constrained. The evidence shows that MNCs in Tanzania have produced statements containing pledges to act in a socially responsible manner, but that their actions have left much to be desired for employees, local communities, the government, and society as a whole. The study draws attention to the gap between corporate statements about CSR and about what happens in practice, which casts doubt on corporate claims to be keen to promote CSR and questions the reasons for such claims. The gap between corporate talk and corporate action suggests that corporate promises to act in a socially responsible manner may be 'hollow', or a mere fiction designed to legitimise business operations in Tanzania. As a consequence, contrary to the claims of the companies to be acting in a socially responsible way and to be committed to improving the economic and social infrastructures and quality of life of local citizens, the widespread poverty in Tanzania remains significant. There is therefore a pressing need for reform in order to mitigate the pervasiveness of the social, economic and environmental problems in Tanzania. This study argues that an attempt to change CSR and its potential in promoting socio-economic development in Tanzania and developing countries in general should be accompanied by changes in the governance system at both the local and global levels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available