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Corporate social responsibility in the petroleum industry: An ethnographically-grounded analysis of ascriptions of responsibility amongst various stakeholders in the Nigerian oil industry

By Ibrahim Umar


This thesis examines the nature of the ascribed responsibilities of corporations in the petroleum industry with a focus on Shell and its stakeholders in Nigeria. It proposes and enacts an empirical approach to exploring the concept via an ‘ethnographic’ prism through respondents’ representational accounts based on a field work interviews and observations. It seeks to demonstrate that rich empirical data on the perceptions of stakeholders can offer fresh insights into the issue. This is significant bearing in mind that most of the literature on CSR is largely based on limited descriptive and extensive prescriptive theoretical expositions.\ud The thesis argues that making philosophical representational claims is not the exclusive domain of academic theorists and philosophers. Ordinary people also make philosophical representational claims in their day-to-day utterance. The thesis captures this using theories of representation deployed in action in analyzing the ascribed responsibilities of corporations within the realm of the debate between and among Shell and its numerous stakeholders in Nigeria.\ud It uses refining as a central metaphor in demonstrating that all representational claims that portray any version of any account are a result of refining through a process of blocking, summarizing, simplifying, and deleting claims and counter claims. Most importantly, the thesis offers a mouthpiece to the different categories of stakeholders, not on a judgmental basis as to who is right or wrong, but as an array of rich voices each articulating its own version based on its orientation, circumstances and motives.\ud The thesis concludes that responsibility is a contested concept that can best be interpreted in many different ways, without necessarily privileging one view or voice over the others

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2008
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