Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in Industrialization: Lessons from the Magana Town Industrial Park in Kenya
Gachanja, P. M.
Mugenda, Olive M.
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the pursuit of commercial success in ways that honor ethical values, compliance with legal requirements and respect for the people, communities and the natural environment. While CSR can be clearly distinguished from philanthropy or charity, making an economic contribution is often seen as the most important and effective way for business to make a social impact. The debate about the ethical and social aspects of business has forced firms to react to the social and ethical pressure of the public. CSR of the company will only be correctly perceived by the public if its social and environmental value creation is transparent. The main rationale why firms get involved in CSR is to improve the image of the company besides corporate sustainability and adherence to a mission statement or CSR policy. While CSR is widely practiced in most industrialized nations, it remains grossly underdevelopment in Kenya. This study sought to establish the extent to which the Magana Industrial Park has integrated CSR in its mission for enterprise. The study targeted 900 households drawn from nine villages that lived within the radius of 10 kilometers from the industrial park, as well as the workers employed in the 15 firms located around Magana Town. To obtain in depth insights and knowledge, key informants interviews were carried out with the managers of a sample of five of the firms. Besides, at least 10 focus group discussions were carried out to generate information on public perception on CSR practice. The study established that the concept of CSR in the industrial park was either misunderstood or ignored all together. Only one enterprise had an elaborate policy on CSR. All others had a vague definition of CSR and a very scanty evidence of any CSR. The study recommends that the Ministry in charge of Industrialization should explore the possibilities of a policy document that will formalize or institutionalize CSR in both public and private sector enterprises. The government also needs to play its role in providing the basic infrastructure to eliminate unnecessary expenses to the enterprises.