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An exploration of corporate social responsibility in multinational companies (MNCs) in Saudi Arabia

The issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Multinational Corporations (MNCs) of developing countries has received considerable attention in international business and international management literature in recent years, but there is a dearth of research on CSR in MNCs operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, especially in Saudi Arabia. In particular there is a scarcity of research on how MNCs, mainly from Western Countries, develop and implement their CSR activities in the Islamic world. Moreover there is a paucity of research exploring the role of CSR in shaping the MNC subsidiary-host country relationship. This study was undertaken to fill these gaps in the literature. In this respect, the study investigates MNCs' CSR initiatives in Saudi Arabia. In particular, it explores the perceptions of CSR held by managers of MNCs, the government, society and other stakeholders concerned. The examination also covered the factors affecting the subsidiary-host country relationship and the elements which facilitate cordial interdependency in Saudi Arabia. The study is innovative because of the dominance of religion and the government in the social, political and economic affairs of Saudi Arabia and the effects of these on the management of MNCs. A CSR theoretical framework was developed to guide the study and a qualitative research methodology was adopted. Essentially, questionnaires s and interviews were used to collect the data and evidence for the study. The data and other fieldwork empirical evidence were analysed thematically and with the support of NVivo. The study generated some novel and interesting findings, providing deeper insights into CSR practice and management and their impact on the subsidiary-host country relationship. The main finding of the study is that local Islamic culture and governmental rules are the most influential in shaping CSR in the MNC subsidiaries. The study also revealed that perceptions of the CSR concept were more or less in line with the Western perspective, but in Saudi Arabia the ethical impact was greater due to the dominant influence of local Islamic culture. It also emerged from the study that most of the challenges facing MNCs' subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia in their CSR implementation arose from a lack of government support and excessive, inefficient bureaucracy. Therefore, this suggests a need for MNCs to conduct CSR activities via existing or feasible governmental channels, such as through paI1nerships formed with the government and an alignment of CSR objectives with governmental concerns and initiatives. The study also emphasised the importance of using Islamic principles as a means of promoting CSR activities in order to ensure the acceptance of the MNCs' CSR initiatives. An interesting finding of the study was that the initiation of CSR activities by MNCs was primarily motivated by a need to enhance corporate reputation at both local and global levels. The conclusion drawn from the findings was that the adoption of CSR in MNC subsidiaries greatly depended on the actions and choices of the corporation in terms of how they wanted to be perceived by both the government and the public in Saudi Arabia. An analysis of the data and evidence gathered shows that in general, to achieve cordial interdependent relationships and the benefit of interdependence, an MNC needs to form a paI1nership between the subsidiary and local organisation or the government, in order to focus on local needs. It is therefore suggested that CSR activities should be aligned with the needs and issues specific to the host country.
Date January 2014
CreatorsAlomar, Jawaher
PublisherSwansea University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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