Corporate Social Responsibility and Organizational Growth: a Case of Equity Bank
The business environment is abuzz with issues related to sustainable development which advocate for firms to look beyond profit-making by integrating better quality of life aspects which aim at protecting the environment, enhance social progress, use natural resources prudently and maintain high and stable economic growth. It is within these circumstances that corporate social responsibility thrives in the modern organization as an innovative way of enhancing its relationship with the society. This study sought to assess the influence of CSR on organization growth by undertaking a case study of Equity Bank. The persistent growth of this bank within the East African region has been linked with the bank‟s involvement in CSR activities, though no scientific review has yet been undertaken to confirm this hypothesis. The objectives of the study were stated as: to assess the impact of education and leadership development initiatives on growth; assess the impact of financial literacy and access initiatives on growth; evaluate effect of environmental conservation initiatives on growth; and assess the effect of agricultural support initiatives on growth. To fulfill the study objectives, a descriptive research design was adopted. The population comprised the CRS beneficiaries and Equity Bank staff members that were acquired through stratified random sampling. The study utilized interview guides and questionnaires as methods of data collection, and data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found that education and leadership initiatives influence organization growth by being a cheaper source of talent for the firm, customer base extension and loyalty, and ease entry into new markets, all which align to the firm‟s long run growth strategy. It was observed that financial access and literacy initiatives affect growth in the firm with the bank benefiting from a widened market base from the beneficiaries, eased marketing channels, new markets and higher benefits than the costs incurred in the undertakings. Similarly, environmental conservation and agricultural support initiatives were pivotal in the growth of the institution especially in its strategic position of „banking the unbanked‟. The study therefore confirmed that corporate social responsibility initiatives offered by Equity Bank has significant impact on the growth of the organization. The study recommends inclusion of CSR in institutional strategies aimed at fostering organization growth and development.
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