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Introduction

Background

The current study on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is evolving around three main aspects – social, oral, and environmental. Although the concept is of greater importance in the globalized economy, business directors must take into account this issue to reconsider the organizational structure, visions, objectives, and strategic frameworks. In fact, the concept of social responsibility is associated with many related concepts, including corporate responsibility, corporate ethics, corporate citizenship, stewardship, and sustainability (Mullerat 2005). It is also an evolving concept, and therefore, it can gradually modify the nature and functions of a business venture. In general, Corporate Social Responsibility is perceived to be the firm’s incorporate environmental, social, and economic concerns that influence decision making, culture, values, and operations that accumulate its respectable image. What is more important is that CSR is the mediator of relationships between the internal and external environments (Mullerat 2005). The internal aspects include employees’ engagement and organizational culture, whereas the external issues relate to the environmental concerns, partnership, international relations, and globalized orientation. It is evident from the above-presented definitions that CSR is a genuine act of stakeholder’s engagement rather than the corporate image. In order to evaluate business performance, it is essential to estimate the framework within a company that carries out the main underpinnings of corporate social responsibility.

Objectives of the Study

There are four objectives of the study:

  1. To explorewhether social responsibility should be considered as a mere act of stakeholder or it is corporate social responsibility that each company strives to achieve;
  2. To provide a full assessment of the activities and operations of the company, the emphasis should be placed on the analysis of such aspects as vision, external and internal stakeholders, partnerships, decision making, leadership, employee culture, and overall performance;
  3. To improve the CSR operations in Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
  4. To develop a new plan for enhancing Corporate Social Responsibility in Ghana National Petroleum Corporation

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation was founded as a state-owned enterprise and was legally supported by PNDC Laws 64 and 84. According to this legislation, the Corporation must “…undertake the production, disposal, and development of petroleum,” whereas PNDC Law 84 creates the framework to control the agreement between the state, the company, and the prospective investors in the petroleum operations (OilVoice n. d). In 1896, the company started its operations that were premised on exploration of petroleum. Currently, the company is responsible for the development, exploration, and production of crude oil and petroleum in Ghana. Before the company establishment, the Petroleum Department under the auspices of Power and Fuel had performed the petroleum and crude oil products procurement (OilVoice n.d.). The main mission of GNPC was to establish support to the government and provide supply of products, thus reducing the  dependence of the state on the import products (OilVoice n. d). Hence, by developing the own resources of the country, the corporation could contribute to the economic growth. Additionally, the corporation takes responsibility for importing crude oil products to meet the demand. In this respect, the task of the company is to reconsider its policies and make a shift from task orientation to person-centered orientation.

On the one hand, GNPC has managed to introduce an efficient strategic framework that supports corporate social responsibility initiatives and develops a new algorithm of its business activities. It is of particular concern to the activities conducted by the company’s managers who seek to develop an environmentally-friendly technology for exploring innovative means of oil and gas production. It should be noted that the framework makes a significant shift from task orientation to customer orientation in order to increase the respectable image of the company and strengthen its positions at the international market. Nonetheless, there are still many directions and gaps into which the corporation must evolve. In order to enlarge on this issue, the company should also develop transparent reporting to eliminate corruption, as well as to introduce and put into practice a new employee culture to attract new promising experts in the field of oil production.

Rationale for the Research

Change management is the key to the increase of the company’s competitiveness because it will allow adjusting to the external marketing environment. Therefore, social corporate responsibility should stand at the core of the company’s activities to keep abreast of the recent innovations in the technological and scientific world. Therefore, the research and development opportunities should be directed to the evaluation of GNPC’s readiness to face the challenges of the global marketplace, as well as produce high quality products in the context of the highly motivated environment. However, it should be acknowledged that the company has a rich and long history in Western Africa; although, the current changes in its strategies have led to an increase in the market segment, as well as in overall economic growth. The emphasis on strategic management is beneficial for the producers of the company, but ignorance of employee culture can lead to a decline in customer demand. Therefore, the research on the company should expand knowledge on GNPC’s operations, as well as provide new directions for its further development.

The main purpose of the corporation is to introduce the Petroleum Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Ghana to explore and operate in accordance with the standards. In particular, the agreement provides Ghana and the corporation with a stronger position in exploring and producing various oil and gas products. The new strategy is much more beneficial because it gives the country a larger availability of resources, as well as new economic potential for the development of resources and opportunities in Ghana. In accordance with the information provided by the company CEO: “Not only with this agreement increases the resources share and net revenues that would accrue to Ghana, but also makes GNPC a Joint Operator for the first time” (GNPC 2013). Therefore, successful cooperation between the government and the corporation can ensure the sustainable development for GNPC. However, the foreign relationships should also be developed to make sure that problems have been solved. What is more important is that the managers of GNPC should place an emphasis on the analysis of employees’ awareness of the company’s orientation to both domestic and international stakeholders because it can largely affect its business activities in the future.

In addition to changing the management and environmental concerns, the field of production which the company is involved in also matters because it compels the community to think of the safety and potential risk that can be caused by oil and gas manufacturing. In this respect, Spence (2009, pp. 60-61) explains: “today’s oil and gas companies work within an ever-broader and more complex set of social institutions – norms and expectations that exist alongside the market forces, but which are created and shaped in other ways.” Hence, these expectations are socially predetermined, but some of them are required by the governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In this context, GNPC should also take into consideration all the perspectives to make sure that it has taken the course of the environmentally safe activities that will promote safety and welfare in the country.

Research Methodology

To understand the effectiveness of policies of the company directed to the improvement of social corporate responsibility, a twofold approach should be chosen –qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative approach will consider the theoretical stance to understand the main pillars of social corporate responsibility, including definitions, successful practices, theories, and recommendations. Therefore, the literature review should be conducted to define and explain the idea of social corporate responsibility and its role in constructing successful business. The quantitative approach focuses on the survey that should be conducted within the corporation among both managers and employees to understand how the concept is treated in reality. The second quantitative approach will undergo several procedures, including sampling, interviewing, recording and transcribing the information that will later be transformed into valuable statistics.

Procedures

All members of the corporation must be e-mailed concerning the research, including its objectives, problem statement, and rationale. They should also be informed about further procedures of the research, including interviewing and questions that are going to be discussed. As soon as the potential participants respond to the message, they should proceed with the second step of the research and undergo the interviewing process. The interview will be conducted individually to avoid subjective responses and increase the validity of the research. The questions will be semi-structured to allow the respondents to express their own attitude to the current situation within the company. The main purpose of these responses is to expand knowledge on social corporate responsibility, as well as how it is applied in the corporation.

After all answers have been received, the recorded information should be transcribed and decoded by the researcher. While working with the information, the researcher should place an emphasis on the analysis of thematic nodes, frequency of identical responses, and points of view on social corporate responsibility expressed by managers and employees. Additionally, such aspects as social corporate responsibility, international relations, stakeholders and corporate governance should be paid attention to and considered.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the emphasis has been placed on corporate social responsibility issues in Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to understand its potential gaps and introduce possible improvements in the sphere. The rationale of the research explains that the necessity for enriching corporate social responsibility is urgent because of the specialization of the company and its potential risks exposed to the population of Ghana. In order to explore the problems, a mixed-method research has been allowed reviewing literature and the existing programs, as well as conducting a survey among GNPC’s employees.

Literature Review

As it has been previously mentioned, the primary objective of the following research is to develop a comprehensive plan that would enhance Corporate Social Responsibility at Ghana National Petroleum Company by exploring the potential knowledge and gaps in its mission, vision, and strategic framework. In order to examine this question and achieve the set objective, the emphasis should be placed on the financial and environmental activities, employee culture and organizational development of the corporation. Overview of theoretical frameworks provided in the books and research articles will also be a major contribution to the development of a new strategic ideology. The first part of the review will be orientated to the analysis of the best practices and trends used to implement corporate social responsibility.

In the studies by Lindgreen and Swaen (2010, p. 1), it is assumed that CSR “…has moved from ideology to reality, and many consider it necessary for companies to define their roles in the society and apply social and ethical standards to their businesses.” Despite the fact that many companies support and reveal their commitment to corporate social responsibility, the majority of them resist it. Additionally, Leonard and McAdam (2003) focus on the analysis of such aspects as definition of CSR, as well as its ethical foundations that influence the quality of the organizational activities. It should be noted that the researchers provide a sufficient explanation why CSR shapes a good stance of business. In particular, they argue that the concepts should be employed to enhance quality, prove the practicality and profitability, and place an emphasis on sustainable development and performance. In addition, Leonard and McAdam (2003) assume that CSR has a potent impact on the organizational activities, such as disclosure of packaging, labeling, production, integrity, marketing, advertising, distribution, pricing and selling practices.

The idea that business should solely rely on the profitability aspect is false because companies should connect business and commercial activities to enhance their respectable image and increase their customer base. According to Cadbury (2006), there is a growing tendency of introducing new values for attracting clients who are more interested in the environmentally friendly products rather than those proposed at a cheaper price. The ratio of quality and price is the priority for each client because of his/her increased concern for their health and status.

It is evident that the globalization process has touched on both developed and developing countries. As a result, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation has also undergone changes in terms of its outlook on collaboration and corporate social responsibility. For instance, Oxford Business Group (2011) has presented a report in which the company’s managers support the idea that collaboration, trustful relationships and constant partnership stand at the core of successful economic and business development. Thus, it is recommended to introduce norms and objectives that would allow companies to trace the recent trends in managing an organizational environment.

Before conducting an extensive overview of programs and reforms that have been implemented at GNPC, the emphasis should be placed on the overall situation with the social and environmental concerns handled in the country. For instance, CSA International, Inc., (2008) has presented a report on the social and environmental development in Ghana. In particular, the Jubilee Field, the accumulation of oil that is currently developed by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, has been estimated in the following report. The development plan has been presented as the first step in reconsidering nine production wells, three gas injection wells, and five water wells. The environmental and social evaluation program belongs to one of four socioeconomic documents designed in collaboration with the developmental plan. The main objective of the report is to examine the potential social and environmental influences of the plan and define mitigation measures to enhance and promote the environmentally friendly development and continuation of the plan. In fact, the very existence of the plan is a step forward for creating a socially and economically healthy environment. In such a manner, GNPC will be able to gain recognition on the part of the government, as well as on other communities that are interested in consuming the environmentally safe products. The analysis of all approaches chosen for conducting the research will also be presented in several stages. In particular, the main purpose of the program is to consider such aspects as protection of species that inhabit the region, as well as take control of the statistics for marine mammals and chemosynthetic communities in the Jubilee Area.

Although little information can be found on the CSR practices in Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, there are still a range of programs and principles that have been implemented to promote different social and environmental policies of the company. As Pamford (2010), GNPC has signed an agreement according to which it agrees to provide gas and oil in conformity with the provisions stipulated in the agreement. In this context, the corporation strives to comply with the norms and agreements that would serve the benefits and welfare of the entire country. In order to enlarge on this issue, although corporate social responsibility has become the major course of frictions and disagreements between the parties, this aspect is crucial to shaping a healthy economic and legal environment for oil and gas production. Additionally, Pamford (2010) asserts: “due to its wide socio-economic and even political and social conflict implications, CSR cannot be treated as a pure internal corporate manner” (p. 91). In addition, oil and gas production of Ghana is more appropriate for larger payouts as soon as proper corporate social responsibility framework is established. Therefore, the company should be more concerned with the public policy consequences while being engaged into the production of oil and gas. It is of particular importance to environmental concerns, particularly the technologies of waste utilization, and many other aspects of ecologically safe production.

The primary task of GNPC is to adhere to all governmental and legal regulations both at the local and international levels. What is more important is that the input of goods and services in the country could not be managed properly if efficient corporate social responsibility is presented. In this respect, there are provisions in the Annex that have been protected through the analysis of these approaches and management of new aspects of the public sector and external stakeholders (Pamford 2010). In order to advance efficient CSR, the emphasis should be placed on the analysis of new public policies that would eliminate all problems and obstacles to the production of oil and gas, as well as encourage people to promote oil leases. From a political point of view, Ghana has to provide a competitive field for all companies apart from GNPC. In its turn, the company under analysis must take into consideration all these aspects. It is of particular concern to the political situation in the country. According to Pamford (2010, p. 92), “politically, although it has not as yet established a long record of multiparty-democracy, it has made adequate progress and ranks high among African and developing nations in political stability.” Additionally, as compared to other African countries, Ghana provides a peaceful and steady environment for business development.

The company can enjoy other advantages associated with the production of oil and gas. In particular, sweet crude oil can be shipped to all the markets, including the Western European-based markets, as well as North American/Texas Intermediate Market. Therefore, the corporation can be presented as a public entity with personnel promoting and deploying oil production. Additionally, the company has been involving its employees in various activities in the country and abroad. It has also accumulated some related expertise in data and technology. According to Pamford (2010, p. 93), “The GNPC’s crucial roles in Ghana’s new oil sector may epitomize the challenges Ghana faces as it seeks to implement successfully the MPA.” Therefore, the corporation can perform a dual function, being both a commercial partner and a regulator of an organizational dilemma. In particular, the company raises a question of the effectiveness of the functions, as well as limited institutional capability of GNPC.

The approval of the government to carry out resource development in the region is as important as that provided by the community and other external stakeholders involved into the activities of the corporation. It is possible to refer to the treaties and agreements concluded by GNPC with other companies and organizations. It has been reported that the corporation has concluded an agreement with AGM Petroleum Ghana, which was ratified by the government (Ghana Web 2013). The ratification provides the two parties with the exclusive privilege to conduct all petroleum exploration, production, and development activities in the South Deepwater Tano Block. The Cabinet and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines, Energy, and Petroleum have also approved the agreement. The main essence of the following agreement is to incorporate commercial interest of GNPC in exploring and producing oil (Ghana Web 2013). The agreement also endows the country with a stronger position in producing and exploring its economic and resource potential through the business activities of GNPC. It should be noted that establishing partnerships with other organization is also a great contribution to the development of corporate social responsibility framework within the company. Both employees and their clients will be more encouraged to use domestic products. What is more important, constant collaboration and interaction with the government and other legal entities could become a step toward better public relation policies that would allow GNPC to gain recognition and enhance its respectable image both in the country and abroad.

Methodology

The methodological part will be composed of quantitative and qualitative research that should be conducted to cover all problems. In particular, the qualitative part will involve the literature review that comprises multiple topics and introduces a range of theoretical and practical aspects. The theoretical part refers to the analysis of the current trends used to handle corporate social responsibility, as well as to what other theoretical fields and disciplines it refers. The practical part introduces the reforms, programs, and plans which GNPC has been involved recently into so as to advance its international policy and enrich its organizational culture by means of introducing new CSR practices. Additionally, the methodology is also premised on action research whose primary function is to observe various organizational processes and operations in the context of the problems and questions considered in the research study (McNiff 1988). Additionally, the main task of GNPC is to provide new approaches to manage the situation within the company. GNPC must hire an independent observer who will be responsible for all research processes and examinations. Action research is an excellent contribution to the study because it allows the company to solve immediately different problems that have been detected during the working process. Action research is closely associated with Lewin’s change model that will provide the company with the corresponding algorithm of actions (McNiff 1988). The action will be premised on three phases, such the observation prior to the survey, observation while conducting the survey, and observation after the plan implementation. The plan will be designed after all survey results have been recorded, transcribed and analyzed in terms of thematic nodes, possible gaps, and employees’ perception of leadership.

Participants

Participants will comprise 21 employees and 3 managers from different departments, such as Research and Development, Human Resources, and Public Relations. The responsibilities and duties of managers are interrelated within the company because all of them should work on constant improvement of employees’ skills and performance. The employees are taken from those three departments, 7 employees from each department. The ratio of employees and managers participating in the research is fixed and corresponds to the overall ratio of supervisors and their subordinates within the company.

Sampling

Choosing a sample of 24 people should be enough to analyze the perceptions and calculate the statistics. The process of selecting the participants is carried out by means of simple random sampling that is sufficient in delivering a representative sample. Indeed, the sample can be considered as a reliable because the researcher will be able to define average perceptions and attitudes, as well as develop a leadership plan by means of which the entire company can improve its productivity and performance.

Procedures

Prior to conducting a survey, the participants will be informed about the steps and procedures of the research, as well as the main research objectives for employees to have a full awareness of the importance of the scientific exploration. The invitation letters will be e-mailed to all participants. These letters will provide all necessary information about the theoretical and practical concerns. As soon as they agree to participate, the researcher will develop a set of the survey questions. The following questions will also be sent to all participants by e-mail or will be asked by phone.

Ethical concerns will also be taken into consideration while conducting the research. If a participant wants to remain unknown, the researcher will meet this requirement. This information will be delivered to the participant to ensure the validity and reliability of the research. Additionally, respondents will be informed about the presence of observers who will take control of all working processes. They will also follow a set of rules while conducting the research. The research team should be as objective as possible. Therefore, it should not intervene with the survey process by asking additional questions or explaining the essence of the questions because they are clear and understandable.

Survey

The quantitative part will be premised on the survey of the participants who are the representatives of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. The task of the survey will be confined to arranging a questionnaire and defining employees’ attitude to the issues of corporate social responsibility at the company. The semi-structured questions will be used in the survey. Thus, everyone will not be limited in his/her responses in terms of structure and time. All the information will be presented in a written form. Respondents can participate in the survey anonymously because their names are of secondary importance. The very survey will be premised on the analysis of several components, such as definition of corporate social responsibility, current trends and main elements of the CSR practices, role of an organization in encouraging corporate government, and other fields covering the necessity of introducing this organizational aspect. The main purpose of the survey is to define the extent to which employees and their managers realize the importance of introducing such aspects as transparent reporting, training and development, change management, human resource management, and effective leadership. The primary task of the survey is to understand whether the corporation should introduce additional plans and reforms for its personnel to gain a better awareness of cooperating with the external stakeholders and considering different environmental issues. Although the questions do not relate directly to the analysis of corporate social responsibility framework, they contribute to its analysis in the separate fields. It will be possible to construct a holistic picture.

In general, the survey will provide a general idea of how employees evaluate organizational culture, communication strategies, and strategic framework. It will also define the level of sustainability that is aligned with other dimensions of organizational work. What is more important is that the company is concerned about such aspects as transparency, openness, and equality of employees in accordance with the positions and status. Finally, it can provide the company with further steps of its advancement.

Reference List

  1. Cadbury, A 2006, 'Corporate social responsibility', Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 5-21. 
  2. CSA International, Inc. 2008, 'Environmental and social evaluation report for lenders', Jublie, Phase Offshore Ghana, West Africa, pp.1-251.
  3. Ghana Web 2013, 'Parliament approves GNPC-AGM Petroleum deal', Ghana Web, viewed 30 Mrach 2014,http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=294183
  4. GNPC 2013, AGM/GNPC – Ghanian Parliament Ratified South Deepwater Tano Block Petroleum Agreement, viewed 30 Mrach 2014, http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/agm-gnpc-ghanaian-parliament-ratifies-south-deepwater-tano-block-petroleum-agreement-1859016.htm.
  5. Leonard, D & McAdam, R 2003, 'Corporate social responsibility', Quality and Ethics., pp.27-32, viewed 30 Mrach 2014,http://alexandrow.pdforms.texas-quality.org/SiteImages/125/Reference%20Library/Social%20Responsibility%20-%20Leonard.pdf
  6. Lindgreen, A & Swaen, V 2010, 'Corporate social responsibility', International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-7.
  7. McNiff, J 1988, Action research: principle and practice, Routledge, London.
  8. Mullerat, R 2005, Corporate social responsibility: the corporate governance of the 21st century, Kluwer Law International, New York.
  9. OilVoice n. d., Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPS), viewed April 8, 2014, http://www.oilvoice.com/Description/Ghana_National_Petroleum_Corporation_GNPC/b6f09016.aspx#gsc.tab=0
  10. Oxford Business Group 2011, The Report: Ghana 2011, Oxford Business Group, Oxford.
  11. Pamford, K 2010, 'The crucial roles of Ghana’s model petroleum agreement: the public policy implications and requirements', Ghana Policy Journal, vol. 4, pp. 81-93.
  12. Spence, D 2013, 'Corporate social responsibility in the oil and gas industry: the importance of reputational risk', Symposium on Energy Law, vol. 86, no. 4, pp. 59-85.

Survey Questions

  1. What is corporate social responsibility?
  2. Do you think the company should cooperation with non-governmental organizations? Why or why not?
  3. Does the company follow all regulations and standards accepted in the country? Explain.
  4. What is your personal outlook on organizational culture?
  5. What are major ethical and business problems within the organization?
  6. Could you please arrange your hierarchy of needs in this organization?
  7. What motivates you to work harder?
  8. What assessment plans do you recognize?
  9. Do you plan to work for this organization in the future? Explain your choice.
  10. How would you describe a good leader? 

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