CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN BANKING SECTOR
Ramodibe, Palesa Tebogo
Instead of trying to justify CSR by demonstrating the profits associated with CSR or the social necessity of CSR, there is also a need for studies that explain how institutions, such as banks, respond to an increasing demand for CSR as a business imperative. The study uses a sense-making framework that seeks to illuminate the cognitive, linguistic and conative elements to how CSR bank managers in South Africa relate to CSR stakeholders, and how they have thus far heeded the call to be socially responsible in a triple bottom line driven fashion. Potential respondents were approached, resulting in a purposive (convenience) sample of 12 institutions, and 17 individual managers from the South African CSR banking population being chosen for interviews carried out in a semistructured, informal, and in-depth format. Thematic analysis of transcribed interview data revealed that the practice of triple bottom line inspired CSR is limited in South African banking, with CSI being the dominant practice. The terminologies CSR and CSI were confused and used interchangeably, flagging a sector-wide misunderstanding of what CSR is relative to CSI. The influence of apartheid legacy and African culture are noted as underlying drivers to the preferred vehicle for social responsibility investment, namely philanthropy. Added to this, the coordinated expenditure of the CSR budgets is largely earmarked for educational and financial inclusion priorities, regardless of the lack of basic monitoring and evaluation techniques to justify the sector wide focus.
Corporate social responsibility, Banks and banking