1.1 Background of the study
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), in all its shades, is a fast growing concept with little attention paid to its linguistic undertone. It is not uncommon in the literature, and in practice, for CSR discourses to be overly constructed along such moral ends as philanthropy (Carroll, 2004) and altruism (Lantos, 2001). Despite the need for business to be morally conducted, one of the primary concerns in CSR debates is whether organizations pursue it for economic reasons or simply because doing so has intrinsic merit. Unfortunately there have been few or no empirical tests in support of the intrinsic merit motive, which makes CSR practice susceptible to the popular accusation of being a gimmick for profitable public relations and marketing strategies.
The emergence of ‘strategic’ CSR (Lantos, 2001) or ‘strategic’ philanthropy (Porter and Kramer, 2002), as a comfortable cover for firms to further their natural quests for profit and self-interest, is thought not to be only self-defeating, but provides anti-corporatists with ready-made tools to quickly uncover the activities of these firms and eagerly shame them as ‘hypocrites’. Moreover, as CSR continues to make in-road into the business arena, the harder its proponents are pressed to provide business exemplars justifying its continued legitimacy as a business practice. The CSR skeptics go down this ‘business-case’ route because of their seeming belief that the quest for ‘strategic’ CSR will inevitably evoke the old dilemma of possible tradeoffs between material profit and normative morality i.e. being good for goodness sake. Notably, in such instances, “when commercial interests and broader social welfare collide, profit comes first” (The Economist Jan 22, 2005). But why is this, the case? This study will argue the case that it is difficult to disentangle CSR, in its present conceptualization, from the grips of spin because it is already caught up in the dual logics of intellectual rationalism (i.e. profit maximization) and emotional rationalism (i.e. benevolence).
Most of the attempts to promote CSR, nowadays, are efforts to reconcile these dual and often hostile logics; as such, they have continued to meet overt and sublime oppositions and reconstructions. Surprisingly, these logics have continued to be treated as a unified logic despite the fact that they are dialectically opposed to each other. Therefore, the continuous tension between the normative and instrumental perspectives to CSR tends to suggest that either the current capitalist system is unfit for normative CSR, as it is propagated, or CSR needs to be reconstructed in a practicable way to be meaningful to managers in their day-to-day pursuits of organizational goals and objectives.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the past ten years or so, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has blossomed as an idea, if not as a coherent practical programme. CSR commands the attention of executives everywhere – if their public statements are to be believed – and especially that of the managers of multinational companies.
But what does it all amounts to, really? The general public, oddly enough, are disappointed. They are starting to suspect that they have been conned. Civil-society advocates of CSR increasingly accuse firms of merely paying lip-service to the idea of good corporate citizenship. Firms are still mainly interested in making money, they note disapprovingly, whatever the CEO may say in the annual report. When commercial interests and broader social welfare collide, profit comes first.
CSR was always intended to be more about how companies conduct themselves in relation to “stakeholders” (such as workers, consumers, the broader society in which firms operate and, as is often argued,’ future generations) than about straightforward gifts to charity. Seen that way, donations, large or small, are not the main thing.
Many of these are expressly intended to help profits as well as do goods. It is unclear whether this kind of CSR quite counts. Some regard it as “win-win”, and something to celebrate; others view it as a sham, the same old tainted profit motive masquerading as altruism. This study shall examine the corporate social responsibility of Nigerian company In order to detect the exact motive of this practice.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The rationale of this study is to examine the impact of Corporate Social Responsibility of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. vis-a-vis its profitability. The study is also geared towards achieving the following objectives:
i. To get insights about the corporate practices on community development and its implications to both economic and environmental bottom lines.
ii. To investigates the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and financial performance.
iii. To examine the impact of corporate social responsibility on the employee commitment.
iv. To examine corporate social responsibility in relation to banks in Nigeria with FBN Plc in focus.
v. To investigate whether Corporate Social Responsibility guarantee customers confidence and security of depositor’s fund.
1.4 Research Questions
This research work shall be guided by the following research questions:
1. Does First Bank of Nigeria Plc embarks on Corporate Social Responsibility?
ii. What impact does Corporate Social Responsibility have on the bank’s profitability?
iii. What challenges does Corporate Social Responsibility Impose on the bank?
iv. Are there other benefits FBN Plc stands to gain aside profitability from the execution of corporate social responsibility?
v. Does First Bank Corporate Social Responsibility guarantee the customers confidence level and security of depositor’s fund?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are tested.
Ho: Corporate Social Responsibility has no significant impact on the profitability of First Bank plc.
HA: Corporate Social Responsibility has a significant impact on the profitability of First Bank plc.
1.6 Research Methodology
Both primary and secondary data shall be the basis of this research work. The primary data shall be generated by means of a well-structured questionnaire instrument. The first section of the questionnaire shall be based on the personal data of the responses while the second section shall seek to ask questions that relate to the subject on the basis of the research questions. The questions in the questionnaire shall focus on the relationship between social responsibility and the performance of the organization as well as the level of commitment of the employees.
1.7 Significance of the study
Corporate social responsibility is not a new issue. The social responsibility of business was not widely considered to be a significant problem from, Adam Smith’s time to the Great Depression. But since the 1930s, and increasingly since the 1960s, social responsibility has become an important issue not only for business but in the theory and practice of law, politics and economics. There has been debate over the beneficiaries of social service of organization: writers argue that corporate social service is for community development while others opposed that it is a profit-making gimmicks:
This study is significant in the followings ways:
a. it would analyze the practice of corporate social responsibility and try to discover its real essence;
b. It shall disentangle the relationship between corporate social responsibility practice and the performance of firms.
c. It would also help to explore the impact of corporate social responsibility on employees’ commitment if at all there is a relationship between the two concepts in reality.
d. It would examine the implications of corporate social responsibility thereby enabling corporate managers appreciate its importance.
1.8 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of this research would encompass the practice of corporate social responsibility and its impacts. The impacts of social services by corporation shall be examined in relations to financial performance employee commitment, and community development. The study shall focus on First of Nigeria Plc and the perceptions of its staffs and residents of its location in the Ikeja area of Lagos State shall be sought for the purpose of this research work.
The limitation of the study is inadequate information from FBN staff and late returned of the questionnaire.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Corporate: A Corporate is a business entity whose operations are recognized by the law. It is often regarded as a separate and independent entity and its vision and mission are profit oriented.
Social Responsibility: Social responsibility can be viewed as a part of the social contract in that is the responsibility of each entity whether it is state, government, corporation, organization or individual that they are contributing to society at large, or on a smaller scale.
Organizational Culture: Organizational culture is a combination of the founders, past leadership, current leadership, crises, events, history, and size. It is the routines, rituals, and the “way things are done” in an organization.
Employee Commitment: Is the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization.
Business Ethics: Business ethics is based on broad principles of integrity and fairness and focuses on internal stakeholder issues such as product quality, customer satisfaction, employee wages and benefits, and local community and environmental responsibilities issues that a company can actually influence.
Financial Performance: This IS the measure of an Organization’s effectiveness in terms of the returns of the company at the end of a financial period. It is often based on figures declared.
1.10 Organization of the study
This research work is divided into five major chapters. Chapter one contains the introduction; while chapter two contain the literature review, chapter three contain research work. Chapter four shall contain the presentation of data and data analysis and lastly chapter five contains the summary, conclusions and recommendations.
1.11 History of First Bank of Nigeria Plc
First Bank of Nigeria Plc is used as the case study in order to generate an accurate inference for the study. First Bank has international presence through its subsidiary FBN Bank (UK) in London and Paris and its offices in Johannesburg and Beijing. First Bank of Nigeria Plc (First Bank or the bank) is one of the oldest financial institutions in Nigeria and was the first bank to be established in West Africa. The bank was incorporated as a limited liability company in March 1894 and commenced operations the same year as the Bank for British West Africa (BBWA). Subsequent restructuring initiatives saw the bank’s name changed to Bank of West Africa (1957), Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited (1969), First Bank of Nigeria Limited (1979) and First Bank of Nigeria Plc (1991). The bank was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in March 1971 and has an unlisted Global Depository Receipt (GDR) programme.
With about 1.3 million shareholders across several countries, The Bank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate solutions and through its subsidiaries contributes to national economic development – in capital, market operations, insurance brokerage, bureau de change, private equity /venture capital, pension funds management, registrarship, trusteeship, mortgages and microfinance. Drawing from experience that spans 115 years of dependable service, the Bank has continued to strengthen its relationships with customers, consolidating alliances with key sectors that have been strategic to the well-being and growth of Nigeria; with a clear and defined strategy to ensure strong growth in profitability and has 2nd largest distribution network, unarguably the country’s most diversified financial services group, serves more than 4.2 million customers through 396 branch offices in Nigeria.
As a market leader, First Bank Plc was appointed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) as one of the primary dealers in Federal Government Bonds. The primary dealers include 10 banks and 5 discount houses. First Bank is also one of the 10 banks approved as settlement banks by CBN. In addition, the bank is a leading member of the ATM Consortium, an off-site independent Automated Teller Machine service provider as well as a member of Inters witch Limited, an electronic transaction switching and payment processing company. First Bank is also a major player in Western Union Money Transfer Services. The bank has 350 online retail outlets (the largest in the country) and its operations are supported by a robust banking software application, called Finance.
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