Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined as many things lately. Simply put, it is the commitment of a business or company to continuously upgrade its processes, systems, products and services by behaving responsibly and creating value for local communities they operate in, and by enabling its employees, existing and potential customers to improve their standards of living. Companies are said to be able to achieve their business goals in a transparent & ethical manner by living in the hearts and minds of their stakeholders and customers with help of CSR initiatives.
Research in management and organization studies on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) suggests that even though a large number of issues are addressed from child labour to environment degradation. The orthodox research on CSR plays within quite narrow parameters and that too from the perspective of economically advanced countries. The body of knowledge available on the subject suggests that until recently very little was said regarding CSR processes and projects in the third world countries or emerging markets.
This is bizarre as well as perplexing since it is in the third world that the power abuse of industrial capitalism is most nakedly and routinely apparent. It also happens to be the place where most the interventions in CSR occur on behalf of western corporations. Lack of emphasis on CSR in Pakistan as is the case with third world is in line, with the dearth of relevance of the west’s authoritative CSR discourse to those most affected in the region.
Every time CSR issues pertaining to emerging markets or Third World Countries are addressed, they are seen through the ideological and theoretical lens of the West and tend to address the sensibilities of western audiences as per their standards.
If the literature on CSR is aimed at clearly aspiring the issues pertaining to the developing countries, then it needs to engage properly with the Third World where prevalent issues are unlikely to change. If one looks at some of the major CSR initiatives in Pakistan , it can safely concluded that informal institutions also play a very pivotal role in determining the kind of CSR the multi-nationals intent to undertake.
CSR & INFORMAL INSTITUTIONS
Telenor Pakistan , a Norwegian telecom company that had nothing to do with education sector chose to open schools in remote areas of Pakistan in order to promote education. The general perception amongst the masses saw it as a way of bribing the local population of the village that was initially hostile towards Telenor’s entry in their region .This was following a massive campaign to boycott Norwegian and Danish products after the famous incident of 2005 , where the local newspapers of the respective countries apparently published caricatures in the name of ‘Freedom of Speech’ , offending Muslim population across the world . There were incidents where Telenor’s communication towers were taken down by the locals in the remote & under-developed areas near the border. The boycott followed by vandalism to the property hampered Telenor’s progress .
Telenor’s effort clearly paid off since it did manage to win hearts and minds of the local population eventually.It did something that government had failed to do until now. They were able to build and sustain schools in those remote border areas where government initially failed to reach out to. These sponsored school were equipped with all the necessities that the local government schools lacked.They even trained the local staff for the school which opened up job opportunities as well.
Another CSR initiate by Telenor called ‘Easypaisa’ won Best Mobile Money and Best Service for Women Awards in Februaury 2014 in Barcelona at 19th annual mobile global awards .The first and largest branchless banking service in Pakistan was announced winner in the following two categories: Best Mobile Money Service and Best...
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