Conceptualization of CSR Among Muslim Consumers in Dubai: Evolving from Philanthropy to Ethical and Economic Orientations

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Journal of Business Ethics


© 2014, The Author(s). Many existing studies postulate that in developing economies philanthropy tends to dominate in the CSR orientation delivered by organizations and expected by local populations. To assess this in the emerging economy of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, we conducted a preliminary investigation of how locals are responding to the growing number of CSR initiatives that are being implemented in the Emirate. Moreover, given that scholars have argued that Islamic principles of philanthropy should guide CSR initiatives in Muslim countries, we also consider if our Emirati respondents connect CSR with Islamic philanthropy. Results from our survey of 267 local Muslim consumers in Dubai indicate that CSR is not typically equated with philanthropy. In addition, respondents displayed an appreciation of the economic benefits that CSR can generate. The implication is that organizations in Dubai no longer need to base their CSR on the platform of Islamic philanthropy as many scholars have argued. Our findings are significant for the wider Gulf region in that they suggest that in wealthy emerging nations, CSR may not be predominantly interpreted as the corporate philanthropy which is needed in poorer developing economies for the provision of infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and housing, and which in some Muslim contexts is also implemented because of local religious values.

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