Assessment of corporate social responsibility practices employed by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings and its subsidiary companies
Mubaiwa, Tsitsi Grace
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The broad objective of this research was to establish the level of appreciation of CSR by ZESA Holdings and its four subsidiary companies. A total of 110 employees stratified by company and job position were randomly selected for questionnaire based interview. In addition, key informant interviews were also carried out to confirm/support/refute findings from the questionnaire based study. More than half (56%) of the respondents across all subsidiaries indicated that their organization did not have a CSR strategies whilst 26 % of them were not sure. Interestingly, all (100%) indicated ZESA Holdings did not have a CSR strategy. However, despite the absence of written CSR strategies, all the companies were are actually implementing a number of CSR strategies including social/community activities (35%), sponsorship (25%), cooperation with other stakeholders (21%), and financial or in kind gifts (17%). The companies engage and prioritize its stakeholders through dialogue, stakeholder awareness campaigns through public meetings, newspapers and electronic media, a monthly circulating internal magazine, the presence of human resources for employees and collaborations and consultations. Overally, 79% of the respondents have heard about CSR before this survey, and 65% of the respondents perceive CSR as an important initiative. About 21% of them indicated that CSR practices result in the recruitment of new qualified staff, increased current employee loyalty through reduction of staff turnover/fluctuation and improved customer satisfaction (19%), and improved relations with business partners and investors (18%), improvement of employees’ job satisfaction (15%), improvement in customer satisfaction (14%) and improvement of economic performance of the company through cost reduction and sales increase (12%). However, only 16% were respectively satisfied with the current contribution, the very low percentage of respondents satisfied with the current CSR is a possible indicator for a cause for concern. Respondents felt that one way for companies to improve its image, would be to measure and evaluate their CSR activities, which necessitates having a definite written strategy. Overally, 51% reported that their companies did not measure and evaluate CSR related activities which is unfortunate. It was also revealed that the absence of a business code of conduct in which a comprehensive CSR charter is enshrined should be the starting point for ZESA. Overally, these results shows that although ZESA does not have a comprehensive CRS charter, and implementation of CSR practices among subsidiaries depends on the nature of the subsidiary’s operations. Benefits to do with the employee have the highest proportion of responses, hence showing the importance of the employee to the company. It is possible that attitude towards customers shown by ZESA Holdings as the umbrella company is reflected in all its subsidiaries. CSR is still in its infancy in Zimbabwe though it has matured faster in other countries. CSR study can be expanded to cover wider areas and other specific industries in Zimbabwe. An area for further research could be to examine the relationship between Corporate Governance and CSR in order to establish if there is a convergence between the two practices and to find out how corporate governance reporting can be embedded into the CSR arena.
Additional Citation InformationMubaiwa, T. G. (2013). Assessment of corporate social responsibility practices employed by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings and its subsidiary companies (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Zimbabwe.
Corporate social responsibility