African Business Culture Tips: Part 2 – CSR is Dead
Words like “social enterprise”, “social innovation”, and “triple bottom-line” etc. induce little more than bafflement in the African boardroom. Corporate foundations and plain vanilla corporate philanthropy have however long enjoyed recognition. When you look closely however you will discover a serious fatigue about these age-long activities. The media is tired of it; communities are sceptical of corporate intent; and employees are completely detached from it, even more so than the West.
In a just-ended survey of American businesses in West Africa – carried out by a think-tank in the region – less than 1 percent of employees considered philanthropic volunteering as worth their while.
This was the context when a telecom company in Ghana decided to spend its CSR dollars supporting, nurturing and profiling successful already active social enterprises in Ghana. The television series they launched has been a massive hit, and they are seen to have completely outshone their rivals. People are tired of shedding tears of gratitude in the so-called developing world. There is a flood of the aspirational wherever you look. If you are going to spray a bit of shareholders’ cash around to pull some cred, better to go with the flow.
Read Part 3: Don’t Confuse “Culture” with “Structure”