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    The drivers, challenges and roles of businesses in peacebuilding: a case study of CSR in Northern Nigeria

    Adamu, Jamila Mohammed (2023) The drivers, challenges and roles of businesses in peacebuilding: a case study of CSR in Northern Nigeria. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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    Abstract

    This study focuses on the role of businesses in peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria over the last decade. Several studies have shown that at various points of a conflict, regions can benefit from the resources and expertise available outside the government, mainly from the private sector through mechanisms such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) by businesses. This is key to addressing the root causes of a conflict through preventive rather than reactionary measures. The aim of this study is addressed through five research questions. These explore the nature and extent of CSR peacebuilding activities conducted by businesses, the role that business’ play in the process, the motivations of businesses to engage in peacebuilding, including the effect of stakeholder influence on the decision to engage, as well as the mutual support that exists between businesses, the government, and other stakeholders with respect to peacebuilding. Others are the implementation challenges that businesses encounter, and a comparison between the nature of CSR-based peacebuilding activities of small and large businesses in the Northern Nigeria region. The study adopted a mixed methods approach to data collection. Following a pilot study designed from primary and secondary data, a larger data sample of 124 businesses was acquired from businesses of various sizes and sectors within the northern conflict region, for the main survey. Both quantitative and qualitative (open-ended) data were obtained at this stage. Additional qualitative data was obtained at a follow-up stage using semi-structured interviews from 21 stakeholder partners that included community leaders, and officials from government and non-government organizations. The purpose was to complement and validate the data from the main survey. The key findings of the study indicate that activities of businesses in peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria is mainly targeted for economic development and social cohesion, with over 90% of businesses engaging in CSR towards this goal. There was also a positive link between a region’s conflict severity and businesses’ CSR interest, whereby areas more severely impacted, attract more business CSR initiatives. In terms of business motivations for peacebuilding, those not engaged in peacebuilding cited lack of insurance and fear of reprisals, while those engaged in peacebuilding, were most influenced by negative economic effect of conflict and stakeholder driven motives. There were 12 stakeholder groups identified, with the most important being the CEO, employees, government, NGOs and community. The foreign stakeholders (such as foreign media and governments) were ranked least important. With regards to mutual support, most dominant government support was through partnerships, but businesses perceived low coordination of stakeholders by the government. About half of the businesses indicated they encountered implementation challenges. These included low community response, excessive demands from community leaders, difficulty in identifying partners and victims, as well as lack of access due to poor infrastructure and insecurity.

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