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Book Review : Social Responsibility And Sustainable Development

PREAMBLE

The culture of making corporate bodies like national and transnational organisations to be socially responsible to their immediate environment and various publics has gained prominence since the late 20th Century. This is otherwise known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, the term so called has limited social responsibility to only big national and multinational organisations to the exclusion of individuals, groups, small and medium scale organisations who also need to be socially responsible to their publics.

This is arguably the reason the authors of Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, Wole Adamolekun and Rotimi Olatunji decided to approach the discipline from a broader perspective of including all and sundry in the business of social responsibility in a cooperative manner for sustainable development of the society in which they operate.

This is corroborated by Yomi Badejo-Okunsanya, a public relations, advertising and marketing wizard and President, African Public Relations Association (APRA), in his foreword to the book that “running businesses that recognize that the social license that enables them to operate is sacrosanct and comes with responsibility that protects the environment, the people while operating profitably as the bedrock of a better society.”

THE BOOK

True to its purpose, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development brings to the fore the need to put the term in proper perspective with theoretical underpinnings and practical case studies. The ten-chapter book approaches the subject-matter from the Nigerian, African and global contexts. It particularly underscores the African culture of ubuntu stressing the need to be our brother’s keeper as a society thrives on cooperative efforts.

The book opens with an exposé on social responsibility as African context on the one hand and a western context on the other addressing the human rights, labour, and environment angles to the discourse pointing out that social responsibility practices in Africa are informal and largely undocumented, hence, less attention of research light beamed on them to evaluate their impact and contributions to the society. It then includes social responsibility, stewardship, fiduciary, corporate social performance, stakeholder, corporate citizenship, relationship, and multi-level theories as yardsticks for articulating impactful social responsibility programmes and projects.

Other aspects covered by the book include instances of social responsibility practices in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. The authors, however, did not fail to interrogate the motives of organisations in carrying out CSR activities especially in Nigeria and many African countries where the drive for publicity, visibility, acceptance, and eventual profit outweighs the altruistic motives of impacting their environment for sustainable development. In contrast, the book presents global examples of CSR projects as salutary and enduring legacies. The book draws the curtain on social responsibility in the Covid-19 era with examples of how multinational pharmaceutical and health organisations like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZenica, Modena and others gave humanity hope through CSR.

EVALUATION

The authors: Wole Adamolekun and Rotimi Olatiunji, brought their expertise and experience as private and public administrators, entrepreneurs, managers, teachers and researchers in public relations and advertising to bear on the content of the book.

This has made a balance of theory and practice spiced with case studies.  A major contribution of the authors to the subject-matter is the need for organisations, groups, and individuals to situate their CSR activities against the backdrop of relevant theories to ensure success and avoid failures.

A chronological arrangement of topics either contextually or geographically could have made an easier reading for different categories of the target audience. Nevertheless, the authors have been deliberate in their mode of presentation which captures key aspects of social responsibility at both the micro and macro levels.

RECOMMENDATION

Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development is suitable for a wide range of audiences. It is a masterpiece for researchers and academics as well as students who want to understand fresh and broader perspectives on the subject-matter. It is a must read for public relations, advertising, marketing and communication professionals, managers, and owners of small and medium scale firms as well as conglomerates who want to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders for sustainable development of our society.

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