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Shell Nigeria’s Global Memorandum of Understanding and corporate-community accountability relations: a critical appraisal

Egbon, O and Idemudia, U and Amaeshi, K (2018) 'Shell Nigeria’s Global Memorandum of Understanding and corporate-community accountability relations: a critical appraisal.' Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 31 (1). 51 - 74. ISSN 0951-3574

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine whether Shell Nigeria’s Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) promotes corporate-community accountability as a basis for fostering sustainable community development in the Niger Delta. Design/methodology/approach Shell Nigeria’s GMoU stand-alone reports were analysed through the lenses of accountability and transparency theoretical frameworks to explore the extent to which GMoU, as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, is dialogically embedded and practised. Meaning-oriented content analysis was deductively used to isolate pertinent themes and generate findings from the background theoretical literature. Findings The authors find that Shell discursively appropriates the meaning of accountability and transparency in a manner that allows it to maintain its social legitimacy and the asymmetric power relations between itself and host communities whilst restricting communities’ agency to hold it accountable. Shell does this by interpreting the notion of participation restrictively, selectively deploying the concept of transparency and accountability and subtly exerting excessive control over the GMoU. Thus, the GMoU’s potential to contribute to sustainable community development and positive corporate-community relation is unlikely tenable. Originality/value Accountability and transparency are core and critical to corporate-community relations and for achieving community development CSR objectives, but are often taken for granted or ignored in the CSR literature on the Niger Delta of Nigeria. This paper addresses this gap in the literature by using accountability and transparency lenses to unpick GMoU model and contribute to studies on CSR practices by oil multinational corporations (MNCs) in developing countries. Indeed, the use of these lenses to explore CSR process offers new insights as to why CSR practices have failed to contribute to sustainable community development despite increased community spending by oil MNCs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: CSR/GMoU, Corporate-community relations, Accountability/transparency, Shell, Engagement/dialogue, Niger Delta communities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 16:36
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 17:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21370

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