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|Title:||A Grounded Theory to Map the Territory of Saudi Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting|
|Abstract:||This study investigates the practice of corporate social responsibility reporting (hereafter CSRR) in the context of Saudi Arabia. The investigation encompasses a detailed description of corporate social responsibility (hereafter CSR) perception, CSR implementation and CSRR; and an interpretation for reporting practice. The interpretation seeks to provide a grounded theory that is capable of offering a plausible explanation for what shapes this reporting. In addition, the study examines and links the drivers and desired outcomes of CSRR. A primarily interpretive philosophical assumption was employed in the study, utilising the grounded theory methodology and semi-structured interviews as a tool for data collection. The data were collected through three phases of interviews with participants from the Saudi petrochemical and energy industry. The personnel chosen to participate in the research were those with direct CSR involvement who were empowered to make decisions; most of them were leaders or managers. The first two phases were designed to elicit what is understood by CSR within Saudi companies, how it is implemented and how it is then reported. These two phases built the preliminary concepts and categories of the open and axial coding analysis. The third phase of interviews were then used to construct the selective codes and to identify the core concept in order to generate the theory. The use of the grounded theory methodology exactly as instructed is largely absent from the CSR literature. The first part of the findings provides a description of CSR practices. It reveals that despite the uncertainty regarding exactly what CSR means to Saudi companies and what it involves, CSR is perceived as an important concept. A gap between how it is perceived and how it is to be implemented as well as a lack of a systematic CSR strategy and performance measurements were evidenced. CSR is implemented as ‘external’ to business operations and there is a lack of creativity. There is also evidence of a gap between CSR implementation/activities and CSRR. CSRR is arbitrary and inconsistent, lacks a formal mechanism, has many transparency issues, and gains less attention than CSR activities. The second part of the findings- built utilising the first part- presents a grounded theory that is induced to interpret the reporting practices of Saudi companies. The generated theory is illustrated in a textual and diagrammatical model that maps the territory of Saudi CSRR. Based on the managerial perspectives, the map explains what forms and shapes the reporting practices, illustrating and identifying accountability (both tacit and/or explicit) as the core concept/engine of the CSRR mechanism. Accountability in this grounded theory not only reenergises the conventional importance of the concept but also extends its scope. Therefore, accountability is not only society-centred but also organisation-centred. The study concludes by suggesting a number of broad proposals and recommendations for future research and practice, which were developed by considering the challenges faced by companies that were captured during the analysis. It is hoped that the recommendations will improve CSRR.|
|Appears in Collections:||Brunel Business School Research Papers|
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