Verantwoordbare verslaggewing oor korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheid aan gemeenskappe
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Stakeholders refer to the individuals, communities and groups that influence a company's operations or are affected by the existence of the company. Companies are faced with the challenge of catering for the unique needs of a diverse set of stakeholders. In order to determine these needs, companies should establish and manage the relationships with their stakeholders. One way to manage these relationships is by communicating the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to stakeholders. Stakeholders have an important role to play, since they are directly impacted by a company's CSR activities. The stakeholder theory not only enables one to determine who a company should be responsible for, but also provides insight into how companies can manage their relationships with stakeholders and why they should take responsibility for their own actions. One way to take responsibility is through CSR activities. Communities are affected by CSR activities, but companies seldom communicate with them about CSR activities. The result is that those who are directly impacted by the CSR activities, are uninformed. Seeing that communication fails here, the company is not in touch with the real needs of the community. This study investigates how the companies Lonmin Platinum (Lonmin) and the Als group (Als) report on their CSR activities and how these communication processes can be enhanced to ensure that the communication with communities succeed. Als is a private owned company based in Potchefstroom. It consists of 15 entities that provide industrial services over a broad spectrum. Als does not have any formal CSR activities in place, but the company sponsors community projects. Lonmin on the other hand has formal CSR-activities in place of which sponsorships only form a small part. Lonmin is the third largest producer of Platinum Group Metals; the main operations are based in Marikana. The communities in the Potchefstroom area have a illiteracy rate of 27,8% compared to the illiteracy rate 23,3% in the Lonmin area. Traditionally companies report on CSR activities through formal sustainability development reports that are usually available on the internet. As a result the communities do not receive information, which impacts on the company's reputation and access to capital. Against this background the following research question is asked: How can companies report to communities on CSR activities, in a responsible manner? A literature overview enabled the researcher to determine what responsible communication with regards to CSR activities entails. Normative guidelines were identified for types of communication, content of messages and communication principles. The principles include adequate information, reliability, intelligibility, relevancy and the opportunity for reaction. The normative guidelines for communication stresses the importance of verbal communication, but the role of written media should not be underestimated. The content should include the economic, environmental and social impact of the company's CSR activities. Participant observation research, semi-structured-and focus group interviews and qualitative content analysis thereof suggests that the companies do not consider the accessibility and intelligibility of the ways in which they communicate with communities (especially illiterate members). The results also show that the companies can explore opportunities for verbal communication and use this more effectively. Communities have a lot of power and Als and Lonmin should therefore maintain and manage their relationships with communities to ensure a sustainable future for both parties. This can be done by paying attention to how they communicate with communities. Communication about CSR activities is only one way to build relationships with communities, but it should get the attention it deserves.
- Humanities