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Exploring firm-community level trust in rural Africa through the lens of oil companies’ corporate social responsibilities

Nnaemeka Chidiebere Meribe (Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
Desmond Tutu Ayentimi (Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Benson Reuben Oke (Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria)
Obed Adonteng-Kissi (School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University – Brisbane Campus, Brisbane, Australia)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 15 February 2021

Issue publication date: 2 August 2021

194

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore firm-community level trust in rural Africa through the lens of oil companies’ corporate social responsibilities (CSR).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is grounded on a case study of local communities and other stakeholders in a Nigerian community exploring the underlying triggers of distrust and trust between oil companies and rural communities through the lens of CSR.

Findings

This exploratory study found the presence of high-level firm-community expectation differentials, pointing to considerable mistrust between local communities and oil companies’ CSR initiatives.

Practical implications

The local communities tend to feel oil companies attempt to secure social licence to operate by engaging in CSR initiatives but not to genuinely improve their welfare. There is, therefore, a superficial effort or incentive for oil companies to engage in CSR initiatives in rural Africa.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the notion that building a community-driven CSR requires a partnership in which local communities share legitimacy with government agencies and oil companies in influencing CSR initiatives. This represents the most effective way of enhancing firm-community level trust and social legitimacy in rural Africa.

Keywords

Citation

Meribe, N.C., Ayentimi, D.T., Oke, B.R. and Adonteng-Kissi, O. (2021), "Exploring firm-community level trust in rural Africa through the lens of oil companies’ corporate social responsibilities", Society and Business Review, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 357-373. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-04-2020-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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