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The Contribution of Corporate Social Responsibility to Organisational Reputation: Case Study of Kgalagadi Breweries in Botswana
Ramokate, Lame Gaomonnye
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This study investigated how the KickStart project, a flagship project of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), has contributed to KBL’s reputation. The research sought to understand the aims of the project and to examine whether KickStart’s objectives are aligned to KBL goals. It also discusses stakeholder engagement and youth perceptions about the project, paying attention to the ways these factors seamlessly contribute to KBL’s reputation. The study was framed around the epistemological assumption that the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of major companies is essential for addressing social problems within local communities and for building mutual beneficial relationships. However, these companies often exclude communities in their CSR programmes, or the programmes fail to meet the needs and expectations of the communities. These factors often impact negatively on the image and reputation of the companies involved. This is a case-study of the KBL project-KickStart and uses a qualitative methodology to glean empirical data. The research methods include a questionnaire and interviews administered to 16 participants selected from KBL, Botswana National Youth Council, the Department of Youth, and youth who have received financial assistance from KickStart. A questionnaire were also administered to another youth group that received financial support under the Youth Development Fund, managed by the Department of Youth. An analysis of documents such as media reports and the Sechaba Breweries Holdings Limited past annual reports were made. Observations were also made during visits to youth businesses while the questionnaires. The literature on theories of CSR and the responsibilities of business provided the conceptual and theoretical framework for this research. This body of knowledge attempted to tease out the main responsibilities of business, namely economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities and bring them to bear on the main focus of the project. Stakeholder theory provided the main theoretical thrust for this study because it highlights the multiple relationships that a company has with business partners, employees, government, suppliers, consumers, and communities, and that they all have expectations in terms of how a company should behave, and dictate what acceptable behaviour is. The value of involving stakeholders in CSR programmes will enhance a company’s reputation if communities are happy with the programmes; they will buy the goods and services procured by the company and recommend the company to others, employees will be motivated, and the company’s productivity levels will increase thus increasing profit margins. Suppliers will be happy to do business with the company. Businesses, to fulfil their mandates, enter into several relationships with key stakeholders who are prioritised according to their power, legitimacy, and the urgency of the issues at hand. Key findings from the study are that the aim of the KickStart is to empower youth to manage sustainable projects and create employment to improve the well-being of communities. KickStart is a flagship CSR programme of KBL, opening opportunities for the youth through development of their entrepreneurship skills. Its objectives are to support the government to address unemployment among the youth and facilitate sustainable economic development. The youth perceive KickStart as a good project; it offers them financial support, business management training, and a year’s mentorship to sustain their businesses. They acknowledge the contribution KickStart makes to uplift their lives and identify with the KBL brand, which positively reflects KBL as a good company. Stakeholders are important; they must be involved in CSR programmes and their concerns and issues should be considered for the success of the programmes. KBL has limited its stakeholder engagement to internal stakeholders namely, the trustees and the project manager, and externally the media and judges. Collaboration with the youth organisations will give credibility to KickStart whose target audience is the youth. While acknowledging limited stakeholder engagement, the CSR implementation framework is recommended for KBL to streamline and prioritise key issues around the high unemployment among the youth, identify key players to be involved, and specify what their contributions should be in addressing the problem.