John Makokha

Integrated Corporate Social Innovation: unmasking a values-based corporate sustainability framework for the management of corporate sustainability tensions in financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa

University of Kent
PhD awarded 2021

I am currently working as an independent consultant in Kenya. I completed my PhD in business management at university of Kent in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Martin Meyer (later moved to Aberdeen University), Dr. Adolf Acquaye and Dr. Eddy Hogg.

My research project looked at corporate sustainability tensions (CSTs) as a hindrance to corporate sustainability in financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). I advanced the view that multiple CSTs need to be addressed and managed in order for corporations to generate value both for society and business. However, to manage multiple CSTs requires a mediating logic modelled around paradox theory so as to tie together opposing poles. As a result, I developed an Integrated Corporate Social Innovation (ICSI) framework, based on the paradox theory, social contract theory and the African communitarian philosophy of Ubuntu, which is a mediating framework to create value for society and business and meet the growing expectations of society to promote common good for all.

By offering insights on how cultural values help to manage tensions, my research strengthens the paradox and integrative view theories, which are critical in corporate sustainability of corporations in Africa. Secondly, this study provided the much-needed empirical conceptualization of CST management on the African continent. Lastly, my research provided an indication that effective management of CSTs can provide a way out of poverty on the African continent. As such, policy makers can incentivize corporations to mainstream CST management as a push towards sustainable business.

My research supports the RADMA theme of ‘relationship between organisational-level activities and performance and national and regional innovation systems or technology, science and industrial policies’.

During my PhD, I worked as an assistant lecturer at the University of Kent, and was also able to complete the Advanced Higher Education Associate Fellowship Scheme (AFS) course. I also volunteered as a coach at a job club with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) charity. I was happy to mingle with people from other cultures and my PhD experience never left me the same. I am grateful to RADMA for supporting my studies, without which I would never have realised my dream of studying in the UK.