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  • Writer's pictureWylde International

Beyond Legal Compliance: Why Acquiring Social License to Operate is Critical for Businesses in Kenya

As businesses navigate the murky waters of politics, it is increasingly clear that acquiring a legal license to operate is not enough to shield them from the impact of political risks caused by politicians such as the recent call for product boycotts in Kenya. Companies must also focus on acquiring social license to operate as a way to mitigate these risks.


Social license to operate refers to the acceptance and approval of a company's operations by the local community and other stakeholders. This means that businesses must not only comply with legal requirements but also go beyond that to ensure that they operate in a socially responsible manner that meets the needs of their stakeholders.


One way for businesses to gain social license to operate is through a conformist strategy. This involves aligning their operations with the values and expectations of the local community and other stakeholders. This means that businesses must listen to the concerns of their stakeholders and make changes to their operations based on those concerns.


Another way to gain social license to operate is through a manipulative strategy. This involves using public relations and other communication strategies to create a positive image of the company in the eyes of its stakeholders. This means that businesses must not only communicate their values and commitments but also take concrete actions to show their stakeholders that they are committed to their values.


In conclusion, as political risks escalate in Kenya, businesses must recognize that acquiring a legal license to operate is not enough. They must also focus on acquiring social licenses to operate to mitigate these risks. By adopting a conformist or manipulative strategy, businesses can ensure that they operate in a socially responsible manner that meets the needs of their stakeholders and reduces their exposure to political risks.

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