|Title||Mapping CSR in a Saudi Banking Context|
This thesis attempted to map the practice of CSR in Saudi Arabia through the adoption of the stakeholder approach by exploring the perspectives of multiple stakeholders of the Saudi banking sector. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders from two Islamic and six conventional Saudi Arabian local banks. The sample included five CSR directors, eight CSR employees, two members of the Shari’ah board and one government representative from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. The interviews explored the stakeholders’ awareness and perceptions of the CSR concept; how banks implement CSR including the areas of focus; the motives and drivers to applying CSR; and the barriers and obstacles facing an enhanced practice of CSR. A supplementary study was also conducted through a qualitative document analysis of the most recent annual disclosure reports and websites of twelve Saudi local banks to identify the areas of CSR implementation by these banks.
The participants were found to be aware of the CSR concept, and their definitions included the ‘Nature of CSR’, ‘Stakeholders benefiting from CSR’, ‘Mechanism of CSR’, and ‘Outcome of CSR’. In addition, those who have longer practical experience and higher scientific degrees reflected a higher level of awareness compared to others. As for CSR implementation, the results of the interviews and the document analysis revealed a range of areas focused upon by banks including activities towards the ‘Society’, ‘Environment’, ‘Shareholders’, ‘Costumers’, and ‘Employees’. In addition, a range of motives and drivers were reported by the participants as reasons behind the banks’ CSR activities which were related to ‘Religion’, ‘Bank status’, ‘Business’, and ‘Social’ reasons. Finally, the participants reported a variety of barriers facing an enhanced practice of CSR by banks relating to the ‘Government’, ‘Media’, ‘Partnerships’, ‘Decision-makers’, and ‘Internal policies’.
This study displayed the heightened awareness of the CSR concept by the participants and provided up to date information reflecting a recently improved and enhanced practice of CSR by the banks towards a variety of stakeholders. However, there are areas that banks Mapping CSR in a Saudi Banking Context are either deficient in or lacking in their practices which require further improvement and this can be attributed to the barriers that the banking sector has been faced with. The results provide implications for the government, the banks, the media, NGOs and Islamic scholars on how to further develop CSR in a Saudi context by eliminating these barriers and making more use of the motivations and drivers.