Academic research suggests that variances in contextual dynamics, and more specifically religion, may lead to disparate perceptions and practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Driven by the increased geopolitical and economic importance of the Middle East and identified gaps in knowledge, the study aims to examine if indeed there is a divergent form of CSR exercised in the region. The study identifies unique CSR dimensions and constructs presented through an empirical framework in order to outline the practice and perception of CSR in a context with strong Islamic beliefs. The framework goes beyond the platform of mere Islamic philanthropy and is based on CSR-stakeholder management practices. Following an exploratory research design and collecting interview data from representatives of 63 organisations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the study offers a snapshot of the CSR reality from the perspective of those living the phenomenon. The results suggest that the practice and perception of CSR in the examined context are largely grounded in the areas of social and altruistic actions but they cannot be examined in isolation from the religious context of CSR operation. This focus is mainly attributed to the dominant role of Islam in the examined sample, which leads to forms of non-structured or semi-structured approaches to CSR. Apart from the theoretical advancements offered to the CSR literature, the study also provides contributions for practitioners and policy makers.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04465-w
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- Islamic CSR
- Middle East
- Grounded Theory