Strategic CSR in Afghanistan: The Case of Roshan, An Afghan Telecommunication Company

Sameer Azizi

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    Abstract

    CSR is a rising phenomena in Afghanistan – but why are firms concerned about CSR in a least-developed context such as Afghanistan, and what are the strategic benefits? This paper is one of the first to explore these CSR issues in a least-developed country. It does so by focusing on CSR in the Afghan telecommunication sector and in particular on ‘Roshan’ as a case company. The findings of this paper are two-folded. First, it provides an overview of the CSR practices in the telecommunication sector in Afghanistan. Second, it focuses on one case and explains whether Roshan can gain strategic advantages through CSR in Afghanistan, and if so which and how these strategic benefits are gained. The paper shows that the developmental challenges of Afghanistan are the key explanations for why companies engage in CSR. Roshan has engaged in proactive CSR to overcome the contextual barriers for growth. Based on an analysis of five CSR projects, it can be assessed that Roshan enhances its competitive advantage through CSR in internal, external, and wider-society levels. It is analyzed that Roshan influences its competitive context both from inside-out and out-side in dimensions, and that the CSR projects could all live up to the strategic CSR criteria drawn from the academic work of Porter and Kramer, Burke and Logsdon and Blowfield. Finally, the paper discusses how in a context of a weak state and civil society, and massive developmental challenges, CSR is not a matter of an ‘add-on choice’, but is based on a ‘license to operate’ motivation, where businesses have free room for maneuvering CSR towards their strategic priorities and business goals. Whether this creates a ‘shared value’ for both business and in particularly for the society is however still questionable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCentre for Business and Development Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Cite this

    Azizi, S. (2012). Strategic CSR in Afghanistan: The Case of Roshan, An Afghan Telecommunication Company. Centre for Business and Development Studies.