Shaping and managing corporate social responsibility in a low-income country : lessons from Uganda

Katamba, David (2018) Shaping and managing corporate social responsibility in a low-income country : lessons from Uganda. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


The corporate social responsibility (CSR) landscape in Uganda was for a long time undocumented. Additionally, Uganda, like many other low-income countries (LIC) has lacked a definitive theoretical base on which to explain what is happening around its CSR affairs. A combination of these two knowledge gaps has left scholars and practitioners wondering what exactly is happening in Uganda. The fact that there is a relatively large difference between Western countries and Uganda or other LIC (in terms of sociocultural, economic, and political-legal frameworks and environments) means that the CSR knowledge gap in Uganda needs to be closed. Hence, this thesis aims to contribute to doing so by answering the following questions: (i) What is the state of CSR in Uganda? and, (ii) How are the most important CSR issues in Uganda managed? This thesis found that the state of affairs regarding CSR in Uganda is defined neither legally, nor by any form of nationally recognized CSR framework. However, most prevailing CSR practices are characteristic of Uganda’s societal values (such as taboos, customs, and traditions). These values are rooted in Uganda’s traditional society, which means that any company intending to conduct CSR in Uganda needs to pay attention to the sociocultural issues that define a CSR beneficiary group. However, the most important CSR issues are education, healthcare, job creation, skills/entrepreneurship development, anti-corruption, agricultural and food safety, water and sanitation, infrastructure development, and environmental conservation. These issues are largely managed in the context of poverty reduction, and in a way that aligns with internationally recognized frameworks, such as the current Sustainable Development Goals (formerly Millennium Development Goals) agenda and ISO 26000 (a social responsibility guidance standard). Lastly, the most applicable theories defining CSR in Uganda are stakeholder theory and corporate citizenship doctrine.

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