Shared Value Africa Initiative Report

This is a report carried out to understand how businesses in South Africa and Kenya perceive shared value as a management strategy.

Dr

Mumbi Wachira

(She/Her)

Lecturer

Strathmore University

I am a teacher and researcher who believes that global ideals of sustainable development can be achieved through collaborations across business, society and government.

Kenyan
This is a report carried out to understand how businesses in South Africa and Kenya perceive shared value as a management strategy.

Key Takeaways

It is hard for small businesses to know how to survive and provide shared value for their community. We need better toolkits for small businesses. We also need to find out why some people are more prone to latch one to CSR than others, and better measurements.

    How To Apply Insights

    • First step is to read the seminal article on creating shared value by Porter & Kramer (2019).
    • Second step is to look at case studies of similar industries to yours that have seen success. Inspire yourself from the successful experiments.
    • Step three is to make sure that the relevant stakeholders in your organization agree with you and want to also implement CSV. They need to be involved in the process of thinking of how you are going to embed this strategy.
    • Finally, look for courses and practical resources that can be useful in helping you and teaching you how to implement CSV frameworks.

    Let your research make a social impact

    About this research

    Shared Value Africa Initiative

      This research received external funding from:

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      Why This Research Matters

      The main problem is that we have these immense challenges at a global scale, and there are gaps between what the government is able to do to support society versus what we actually need to achieve to secure development. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that businesses have a role to play with addressing social and ecological challenges and they can do so in a way that generates economic value for them. The point was to show that it is possible to embed shared value business strategies and there are several examples of how this has been done in both our countries (South Africa and Kenya).

      Findings & Research Conclusions

      The first finding was that there is still a lot of confusion amongst people on how to think about CSV (Creation of Shared Value), sustainability, corporate social investment.

      Secondly, for CSV to work, it needs to be driven by the top management within organizations. Purpose driven organizations that have implemented a shared value management strategy have a CEO that has been convinced that this is the direction to take.

      Third, people who are driving the implementation of CSR strategies, even if they’re not the CEO, it’s deeply personal to them. In fact, some respondents even said that it is a “heart thing”. This is not your typical economic theory, i.e. that this is what you do to make money. It has to go deeper than that.

      Fourth, most companies in Africa are SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), and there was an important question about how these organizations would implement those strategies. Yet, when asked, respondents of the large, listed organizations that we worked with, said that they also want the people who are working with and within SMEs to come on board.

      Finally, most organizations still had issues combining the short term, profit maximizing mentality with the long-term value that CSV would provide.

      Research's methodology

      There were 28 respondents from Kenya and South Africa. The interviews were predominantly conducted in the interviewees’ office and lasted for about 45 minutes.

      This research can be very useful for emerging economies/markets in general.

      However..

      First, there is a limitation in scope. Most people were in agreement with CSV frameworks and as a result, we missed on the opinions of people who didn’t agree with CSV or who tried to implement it but did not suceed.

      Second, using mixed-methods, more specifically survey research, would have been good. It would have allowed us to figure out what the limiting factors are, what the future outlook for these companies is.

      ConceptDefinition
      Shared value creationIt is a management strategy that allows businesses to simulatenously solve social problems and create economic value in the long run.
      Reconceiving products/marketsReconceiving a product/market means to innovate on a product/service in a way that touches communities.
      Local cluster developmentLocal cluster development can be undertaken by large organizations. It means to invest in such a way that you help build the community that surrounds your activities.

      Reference this research

      Wachira, M.M. Barnard, T. Lutseke, V., & Ger, C. (2020). Current perceived understanding of Creating Shared Value (CSV) among businesses operating in South Africa and Kenya. Shared Value Research Initiative, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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