ANALYSIS OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BRAND EQUITY OF SELECTED UNIVERSITIES IN KENYA
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This study analyses the relationship between corporate social responsibility and brand equity of Universities in Kenya. Many corporations seem to engage in socially responsible behavior as part of their normal business operations. The socially responsible activities include positive actions towards economic, social and environmental concerns of the society in which the firm operates. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) integrates these concerns into the corporate strategy and operations in a transparent and accountable manner which appears to improve relationships with stakeholders. The study specifically sought to establish the effect of economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, ethical responsibilities, and philanthropic responsibilities on brand equity of universities in Nakuru County. This study was based on the tenets of the instrumental stakeholder theory which supports the view that CSR is a valid source of intangible competitive advantage. The study employed a descriptive survey research design. It targeted 41 management staff and 17 public relations officers working with these universities. The study adopted census design where all members of the study population participated in the study. A questionnaire with both open and closed ended questions was used in data collection. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences and STATA computer software were used in data analysis. Data analysis was both descriptive and inferential. Descriptive analysis captured measures of distribution and chi-square. On the other hand, inferential analysis was in form of Spearman rank correlation and multiple regression. The study revealed that economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, ethical responsibilities, and philanthropic responsibilities were significantly related to brand equity in universities. It was further found that CSR activities contribute largely towards enhancement of brand equity in the aforestated institutions. The study concluded that economic responsibilities were vital in enhancing the value of the university. Adherence to legal responsibilities was crucially important in enhancing the brand equity of the university. It was further concluded that brand equity attracted financiers, donors and other investors to universities. In addition, it was concluded that universities in Nakuru County were concerned about their image and thus engaged in CSR activities in order to enhance their brand. The management of universities is advised not to focus on any economic gains as a result of engaging in CSR activities. More so, universities should seek legal opinion prior to engaging in any CSR activities. In order to attract more students and increase enrolment, universities should enhance their image by upholding unequivocal ethical and moral standing in the society. Moreover, universities are encouraged to embrace philanthropic attitude when dealing internal and external persons and entities.
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