ASSESING HOTELS SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO ITS HOST COMMUNITIES

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ABSTRACTS

In assessing Hotels Social Responsibilities To Its Host Communities ,  15 hotels were investigated in this study in which a 41 point questionnaire, prepared in 10 sub-scales, was administered to 350 respondents selected from employees of the hotels and residents of the host community to ascertain the level of involvement of hotels in the enforcement of sustainable development practices in Kaduna metropolis , Nigeria. Data were analysed in inferential statistics,. Results show that hotels in the area have not embraced sustainable development practices in the host community. The study recommends that corporate social responsibility and sustainable development practices should be enforced by these hotels in the community through a systematic approach, which includes creating

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

    1. Background to the Study

The hotel industry is a global sector (with significant growth expectations) which caters for a majority of people, and with a majority of employees working to achieve its objective. In the past, businesses existed without having much pressure or expectations from the society but instead, organizations were seen as entities of profit maximization for shareholders. Today, events point to the fact that such trend has changed and businesses are expected to be socially responsible and to think beyond profit maximization, if they must survive (Onwuegbuchi, 2009). Globally, more companies have continued to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a worthwhile business practice. Meanwhile, despite wide acceptance of CSR, there are divergent views about its potential benefits and how it should be practiced, as would be seen later in this study.  Various studies conducted in different countries, have shown that CSR is practiced differently, in different countries.

Also, the idea of companies engaging in corporate social responsibility has been attacked by some scholars, with Milton Friedman, at the forefront of the group. In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, written in 1962, Friedman condemned the view that companies should have a social responsibility that goes beyond serving the interest of their stockholders. In his opinion, managers should concentrate on making as much profit, as possible, for shareholders. He further argued that the claim that businesses should contribute to the support of charitable activities, is an “inappropriate use of corporate funds in a free enterprise society and a fundamental subversive doctrine” (Friedman 1962, p. 133).

            Popular amongst those that believe in the spirit and principles of corporate social responsibility of companies is Kenneth Dayton, Chairman of Dayton Hudson Corporation. In his ‘Seegal-Macy Lecture’, delivered at the University of Michigan, 1975, he said: “We are not in business to make maximum profit for our shareholders but to serve society. Profit is our reward for doing it well. If business does not serve society, society will not tolerate our profits or even our existence” (Anderson 1989, p. 1).

There is also the argument that most social problems industries face today are contributed by business growth. Therefore, organisations are expected to contribute in solving them and failure to do this may cause the problems to get worse and organisations might not survive. Also, failure of corporations to be socially responsible may cause society to change business conditions, maybe through law changes or activities of pressure groups and this may make survival difficult for organisations.

            Chiu and Hsu (2010), in a study, maintain that the early stage of 21st century experienced corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom in the U.S.; the infamous Rebar Group and Zanadau case in Taiwan, and such activities brought doubt to the credibility of companies. The study also notes that the increase in productivity by machinery automation has led to environmental destruction and increased resource consumption, which has attracted more attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Also, increased interest in CSR in recent years has been as a result of globalization and international trade, which have reflected in increased business complexity and new demands for enhanced transparency and corporate citizenship (Dima & Ramez, 2007; Parker, 2005; Rahul, 2008).

            As noted earlier, scholars and practitioners are yet to agree on a consensus definition and practice of the CSR concept. However, for the purpose of this study, we shall subscribe to the definition provided by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). According to WBCSD, CSR is "the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families and the local communities" (WBCSD, 2001, p. 1). Therefore, the core idea of CSR is that organisations have an obligation to meet certain needs of their various stakeholders (Clarkson, 1995; Waddock et al., 2002).

    1. Statement of the Problem

One of the major responsibilities of manufacturing and service industries is the assurance of long-lasting cordial relationships between the establishments and the host communities (Welcomer, Cochran, Rands & Haggerty, 2003). The host communities are the inhabitants of the districts where the business activities of the hotels take place. A certain conviction emanates for the local people who feel that their locality is capable of accommodating certain business enterprises, and as such, they tend to believe that their status should be enhanced in a variety of ways through the emergence of these business enterprises. There is, consequently, a need to strike a balance between the expectations of the local population and that of the businesses who are of the belief that the host community will be very accommodating for their enterprise to prosper.

Residents of the host community, as well as the firm itself, are all stakeholders who are, in one way or the other, affected by either the activities of the firm, or the grievances of the residents as characterised by the activities of the firm. Eweje (2006, p. 100) wrote that a stakeholder is anyone who has “a stake in or claim on the firm”, which was further interpreted to include “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the corporation”. This clarifies the scope of stakeholders for the hotel industry to include customers, employees, suppliers, management, and the local community. Consequently, Eweje asserts that business success can best be achieved by giving the interests of the business’ stakeholders proper consideration and adopting policies that produce the optimal balance among them. Similarly, Welcomer et al., (2003) posited that firms and stakeholders actively working together in hopes of mutual gain can have a significant impact on the firm. The foregoing clearly defines the relationship between hotels and their host communities as that which is expected to be of immense benefit to both the establishments and the host communities. This is where corporate social responsibility and sustainable development practices play prominent roles.

    1. Objectives of the Study

The impact of the activities of hotels in Nigeria, as they affect the environment and well-being of the local people was examined in this study. Such activities are those utilised by the hospitality organisations in their daily business operations, including their commitment to development and maintenance of local infrastructure, source of energy supply (and usage), water and sanitation management, source of (food) raw materials, food production mechanism, waste and sewage disposal, as well as their level of involvement in community development in the area of operation. These are indices with which the level of compliance to the SDGs are measured for both manufacturing and service industries (SDG Industry Matrix, 2015).

 Specifically, the study examined:

•  Corporate social responsibility undertakings of the hotels for the host community; and

•  Sustainable development practices of the hotels in Nigeria

1.4 Significance of the Study

Academically, this research will, not only contribute to the volume of knowledge on CSR, but will help in filling the gap existing in CSR research in the developing countries and particularly in Nigeria. As noted earlier, most existing CSR studies were done in the Western world and several of them have proved the lack of consensus in the definition and practice of CSR around the globe. Since it is an established fact that CSR is not practiced the same way by different organisations in different countries, this study becomes relevant because it will help us to know how CSR is understood and practiced by the Hotels industries in Nigeria.

Professionally, this study will help CSR practitioners in other organisations to know what the Hotels industries are doing in the area of CSR and also provide learning opportunities for them. Such knowledge could help them in conceptualizing their own CSR strategies. The various literature cited in this study will also help these professionals to know how CSR is understood and practiced in other parts of the world. In addition, results gotten from the second part of the study will help the Hotels industries to find out if their customers have knowledge of their CSR efforts and also to know how this knowledge influences customers’ attitudes towards them. Since studies in other parts of the world have shown how customers claimed they were influenced in one way or another by the CSR of companies,  it is important to know if such could be said of customers of the hotels  in Nigeria.

Furthermore, this study will join the global effort in raising more awareness of CSR. It is hoped that such CSR consciousness will motivate managers in other organisations where CSR is not practiced to begin to include CSR in their business plans.    

1.5 Scope of the Study

Given the broad nature of CSR, this study focuses on the Hotels in Nigeria, with the view to disclose its social responsibilities to it's host communities 

1.6 Research Questions

  1. What are the Corporate social responsibility undertakings of the hotels for the host community?
  2. What are the Sustainable development practices of the hotels in Nigeria

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