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SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACCOUNTING/ REPORTING ON CORPORATE PERFORMANCE (A CRITICAL ANALYSIS)
1.1 OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
Companies World Wide have been placed under increasing pressure by stakeholders to perform business activities in a more socially responsible manner, this is because government at the national and local levels experience shortage of funds and a shrinking resource base whereby they cannot perform all functions as expected. There is therefore pressure from multifarious stakeholders e.g. labour, investors, customers, suppliers, communities, activist organization, etcetera which makes it necessary for government to perform a balancing act in this regard. Corporate bodies are encouraged to adopt and or expand efforts in the social arena which leads to the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the balancing between profit motives and the need to give back to society. These balancing acts highlight the need for social accounting, which can be described according to Jocelyn Martins as “Social accounting evolved into a mechanism for identifying, measuring and reporting a company’s social and environmental impacts where competitive and profitable enterprises are able to make a long-term contribution to sustainable development by generation wealth and jobs without compromising the social and environmental needs of society. Government regulations and public awareness are external forces that have increased the social responsibility of business. But business decisions are within the companies. Two contrasting philosophies or models define the range of management attitude toward social responsibility; viz- economic and socioeconomic models.
According to the traditional concept of business, a firm exist to produce quality goods and services, earn a reasonable profit and to provide jobs. In line with this concept the economic model of social responsibility holds that society will benefit more when business is left alone to produce and market profitable products that society needs. To the managers social responsibility invests in a corporation to earn a return on their investment, not because the firm is socially responsible and the firm is legally obligated to act in the economic interest of its stockholders.
On the other hand, socio economic model is of the view that the proponent has the responsibility not only to the stockholders, but to customers, employers, supplies and the general public. It places emphasis not only on the profit but also on the impact of business decision on society.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Theoretically and empirically speaking an appraisal of social responsibility accounting and reporting on corporate performance in developing nations especially, Nigeria has been lacking in the sociology of knowledge.
Although social accounting literature has evolved considerably over the years, these literatures tend to focus on developed economics and not on developing economics like Nigeria. Apparently, in spite of growing interest for social accounting practices, there are still myriad of problems that need in-depth study. Chief amongst the problems are; difficulties in measuring social externalities, definition problem of most of the social responsibility accounting terms, presenting values and intentions without supporting details, making inaccurate claims, reporting only good news, et cetera.
Although technological improvements, new guidelines and standards enable solving these problems, at present the social accounting practices are not desired level in both developed and developed nations (especially developing ones) it is on this basis that the researcher deems it necessary to investigate analytically the impact of social responsibility accounting on corporate performance in Nigeria.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study is to examine the extent to which social responsibility accounting and reporting has enhanced the performance of corporate organization in Nigeria’s oil sector, however, the study will specifically examine;
1. Corporate attitude towards social, ethical and environmental issues as represented in the texts of corporate reports.
2. The managerial perceptions of corporate social responsibility reporting in Nigeria.
3. Specific challenges militating against the implementation of corporate social responsibility reporting in Nigeria.
4. To make appropriate recommendations on the best way to improve on the current problems militating against the development of corporate social responsibility reporting in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The research questions posed in this research work comprise the following;
1. What are corporate attitudes towards social, ethical and environmental issues as represented in the texts of corporate reports.
2. What re the managerial perceptions of corporate social responsibility reporting in Nigeria?
3. What are the specific challenges militating against the implementation of corporate social reporting in Nigeria.
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses will be tested in the course of this study;
H01: There is no significant relationship between social reporting and the level of a firm’s profitability.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In other to eliminate any form of confusion and facilitate better understanding, various terminologies used in this research work are defined below;
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
This is broadly about an organization’s acceptance of its responsibility towards its key partners in society to account for, manage and report on the social impact of its activities, on the society.
This refer to those people or groups who are either affected by or who can affect the activities of an organization. They include people such as shareholders and investors, employees, consumers and the general public.
This is defined as the benefit the society is deprived of through the use of any facility or input by a commercial entity.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
The study is divided into five chapters structured as follows:
Chapter One: Contains introduction to the research work, made up of overview, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, hypotheses., and significance of the study, definition of terms, limitations and organization of the study.
Chapter Two: Contains a review of relevant literature concerning the study.
Chapter Three: Covers the research methodology made up of research design, sampling procedure, sample size determination, data collection methods, operational measure of the variables and data analysis techniques.
Chapter Four: This chapter deals with presentation and analysis of data collected through the questionnaires. The hypothesis will also be tested in this chapter.
Chapter Five: This will include; discussion, conclusion and recommendations.