United Arab Emirates (UAE) is in a region, which makes headlines in association with heightened frequency of war and political turmoil among affiliated issues. On the other hand it is a haven of both political and fortified economic stability, which is a rare scenario within the region. Therefore, such significant economic and political atmospheres have enabled the UAE to foster a healthy business centre, luring impressive multinational corporations for instance Shell, DHL and Intel. Within the last 2 decades, tremendous transitions have embraced corporate relationships. During this century, a firm cannot operate as a single entity in spite of the public interest, societal welfare with inclusion of both genders and its environmental effects. The growth of the linkage between the organization and the society has transformed steadily from a humanitarian coexistence to the extend, whereby stakeholders and societal interests are appreciably becoming of principal importance as suggested by Al Youm (2007). Most organizations have realized thatin order to maximize the profits and create a strong foundation, it is vital to adopt responsible business etiquettes thus corporate social responsibility.
Social responsibility vs. CSR
It is the responsibility of an organization to ensure that its management is geared towards the wellbeing and societal significance. This is promoted through execution of organizational policies and actions. The organization hence focuses on improving the society and resources it utilizes, instead of mainly focusing on making immense profits. On the other hand CSR is the progressive commitment by organization to have a characteristic ethical behavior and contribute positively to the economy, whilst improving the quality of stakeholders’ life and society as a whole. Therefore, the financial organization is obligated to meet commercial, ethical, legal and social expectations of the stakeholders’ (Holmes & Watts, 2000).
- Assess the state of CSR in UAE, Emirates
- Determine the level of awareness of CSR
- Drivers and factors affecting the execution of CSR policies
- How CSR is perceived in the region
The UAE is an Islamic nation, where multiculturalism and westernized presence through overseas corporations are widespread. Literature concerning CSR is immense; however, it is limited in the UAE. Hence, this research attempts to highlight more into the subject through examining UAE enterprises’ self proclaimed performance in three main areas that concerns CSR: environment, consumer protection, and societal affairs. The performance in these areas differs from one organization to another, which affects a holistic industrial performance. The region is dominated with Islam and is consequently influenced in terms of CSR within the UAE and financial success of the business. However, CSR require the firm to initiate positive alignment in tandem with business objectives.
The business world is growing rapidly and competition is the biggest challenge and the globalization wave, which has dramatically changed the business environment. Consequently, globalization has forced most organizations to increase their business limits from the native country to potentially demanding markets in overseas countries averts Aston (December 2005). Therefore, for a triumphant globalised organization, firms have realized there is need to execute evidently defined business practices, which characteristically, have well defined focus on gender, public interest, and environmental issues. In most nations, the government is the key to the success of any business due to the rules and regulations asserted. The government would have a preference over organizations, which are vested interests on ensuring stakeholders’ interests are addressed adequately. Intangible assets and employee morale are hence the most fundamental facets of the business (Chandler & Werther, 2006). For successful development of these assets, the organization has to attain the goodwill of the society.
CSR in the UAE context
The UAE is depicted as a hub of dynamic growth, both technologically and commercially. Positive polices and practices, which promote the wellbeing of the society, environment and economy, enhance success of businesses. UAE’s economy is increasing at an exponential rate with the emergence of new firms within the region continually, straining the natural resources the region posses (Society for Advancement of Management, 2007). Therefore, sustainability and conservation practices are a daily chore. To ensure that this is achievable, both the government and business sector have a role in executing policies that are effective and sustainable. Even though the business world within UAE is growing rapidly, it stagnates due to CSR. Conversely, CSR practices are synchronized with Islamic teaching: need to be absorbable within the community and promote social welfare (Al Youm, October 2007). Therefore, why is it hard for organizations within this region to implement CSR policies?
CSR vs. Islam
Most of the leading organizations within the UAE region are lukewarm in the endorsement of CSR. This is as a result of its time consuming in crafting its adoption in the organization and a negative perception that little financial payback is hard for organizations. Moreover, CSR is commonly mistaken for “Zakat”, which is a mandatory alms-giving in the Islamic world. The participant is required to donate quietly rather than advertising his generosity. A remedy to this is the complete separation of “Zakat” and CSR through placing the aforementioned alms-giving to a spiritual emancipation arena and the latter adopted in the business world mostly Public Relations toolkit. In this case CSR would shape up into a humane dimension, hence, the promotion of the organizational brand quid pro quo will be inexistence (Al Youm, October 2007).
Mode of data collection:
- Face to face interview
The Dubai Ethics Resource Center (DERC) and other related departments DCCI carried out a survey to determine the level of awareness of CSR within the region in the recent years that is 2009. The research determined how CSR was perceived within the region, the Emirates, attitudes of top officials, drivers and factors affecting the execution of CSR policies. The research covered four main areas that act as the pillars of CSR, namely natural environment, market place, workplace and community (gender related). It was depicted that the driving force of CSR policies are Dubai and Abu Dhabi and can be the masters to bring change to the tarnished face of CSR within the region. The research showed that there is a high awareness of CSR however, a lowered level of CSR practices. Most organizations fail to assume policies that promote CSR mainly associated with auditing, reporting and monitoring (Society for Advancement of Management, 2007). It is hence seen that the implementation of CSR is targeted to comply with the Islamic cultures “Zakat”.
Overview of the findings
The level of awareness with regards to CSR is very high. Most of the people, who are businessmen and women, relayed that their expectations are for the organization to behave in the best interest of the stakeholders and make significant economic contribution the UAE society. Most executives in organizations based in the UAE feel that organization should not only positively contribute to society but also execute policies that drive CSR. Most organizations shown positive attitude towards implementing CSR policies, portraying the recent image of the UAE, where CSR is a facet of the business lexicon of the commercial community. About 71% of the respondents showed that it is vital to adopt CSR in the business world. However, there is a significant gap between organizational awareness concerning CSR and executing CSR policies. Furthermore, the most common areas’ organizations should focus, as a contribution to the society, on supporting people with special needs, promote international aids and promote environmental programs.
The research shows that the region still has a long way to go in achieving CSR objectives, though promising signs of commitment are traceable. It was also brought to light that the level of awareness has progressively increased. This can be evidenced with the level of information available, discourses, surveys and reports all focus on the regions best interest to achieve 100% executed CSR policies within organizations in the UAE. It is vital when organizations are making decisions, they should take into account the perception of the society and its impacts to the latter, more so the broader perspective of the society. Organization should therefore invest on efforts and resources that target on structuring knowledge powerhouses and transforming liabilities to prospects yet to be harnessed. Organizations within the region should strategize on how to suit into the wider society and refine on CSR policies, hence, the role in the society evolves into significance.