Consumers’ CSR Awareness in Qatar and UK

Introduction

Corporate Social Responsibility is also often referred to as corporate citizenship and is classified as a responsible business practice. This is because of the fact that Corporate Social Responsibility serves as an internally placed system that seeks to modify the perception that consumers have about the subject organization. Generally Corporate Social Responsibility is exercised by active engagement in measures that promote the social well-being of the society. It is for the same reason that the exercising of Corporate Social Responsibility is often considered to be an example of adherence to Business Ethics principles and is encouraged by governments and ethics institutions.

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The essence of Corporate Social Responsibility therefore comes forth in the perusal of public interest on the part of commercial organizations. By doing so, organizations aim to develop good will through which they can acquire profits in the long run. “The entirety of CSR can be discerned from the three words contained within its title phrase: ‘corporate,’ ‘social,’ and ‘responsibility.’ Therefore, in broad terms, CSR covers the responsibilities corporations (or other for-profit organizations) have to the societies within which they are based and operate. More specifically, CSR involves a business identifying its stakeholder groups and incorporating their needs and values within the strategic and day-to-day decision-making process. Therefore, a business’ ‘society’ within which it operates, which defines the number of stakeholders to which the organization has a ‘responsibility,’ may be broad or narrow depending on the industry in which the firm operates and its perspective” (Univesity of Miami – Ethics Program 2005).

“Corporate social responsibility consists in the companies themselves defining, unilaterally and voluntarily, social and environmental policies by means of alternative instruments that are neither collective agreements nor legislation, and offering, in pursuit of these aims, partnerships to multiple actors” (Fonteneau 2003).

Corporate Social Responsibility allows companies to take on a form of development through which does not only benefit their corporate profile. Through engagement in corporate social responsibility, companies are able to contribute to the development of the society by taking on responsibility for the development of the society. The productivity in the exercising of Corporate Social Responsibility comes forth in the fact that it serves to create an undeniable degree of good will across consumers and eventually encourages consumers to purchase the product. More specifically, “can differentiate their brands and reputations, as well as their products and services, if they take responsibility for the well-being of the societies and environments in which they operate. These companies are practicing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in a manner that generates significant returns to their businesses” (Pohle and Hittner 2008).

It is apparent from this introductory elaboration of Corporate Social Responsibility that Corporate Social Responsibility is a form of social engagement in which the organization becomes heavily interactive with the consumer, thereby placing an extensive degree of reliance on consumer perception of Corporate Social Responsibility. In cases where the consumer perception with regard to Corporate Social Responsibility is one that is unfavourable towards the subject organization or to Corporate Social Responsibility in general, the Corporate Social Responsibility efforts may go in vain and the organization may end up experiencing a backlash instead of the development of good will and acquiring higher returns from consumers. In this regard, while an extensive degree of literature is present on Corporate Social Responsibility, there is very little that attempts to explore the implications of the perceptions that consumers hold upon Corporate Social Responsibility.

A supplementing area of relevance in this regard is the fact that consumers perceptions with regard to Corporate Social Responsibility may differ extensively, and it would therefore be reasonable to understand that the nature of the economy is a prime determinant of the Corporate Social Responsibility perceptions that prevail across consumers. In this regard, this research shall attempt to contribute to the discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility as perceived by consumers and shall study it in the frame of reference of different economies.

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Problems and issues (General information) with examples

Corporate Social Responsibility may be a form of societal marketing in which modern day organizations are choosing to engage in rapidly. However, there is no rule-of-thumb that organizations can make use of since the sizes and natures of economies have been known to have serious implications upon Corporate Social Responsibility strategies. An implementation of a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy in a developed consumer market may yield different results when compared to the results that would be acquired in the event that the same Corporate Social Responsibility strategy was used in an underdeveloped or an emerging market. In this regard, it becomes imperative to adequately judge consumer perceptions in an economy before a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy can be launched and exercised.

Aims and objectives

The objective of the dissertation is to acquire a clear perception of Corporate Social Responsibility as it is influenced by consumers in differing economies.

Thesis Statement

Consumer perceptions of organizations in developed and developing economies vary significantly and this difference between different types of economies causes a significant degree of influence on Corporate Social Responsibility practices.

Approach and methodology

The study shall take on a research approach that will bring together primary and secondary sources to determine the authenticity of the thesis statement. The secondary research shall contribute to the exploratory aspect of the research and the understanding acquired through the secondary research shall assist in the development of the primary data collection instrument. Once the primary data collection instrument has been implemented, the data collected shall be analyzed and evaluated in light of trends and tendencies to contrast it with findings from the secondary research.

Results/Findings and Analysis

Introduction

The following paragraphs shall attempt to contribute to the research by shedding light on the responses received from the survey participants in a manner such that initially the responses received with regard to Qatar shall be elaborated after which the responses received with regard to the UK shall be highlighted. This shall be followed by a comparison of the observations to identify similarities, differences and tendencies for the observations to move from one region to another.

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Private companies must bear civil responsibilities

In the case of the question asked to determine whether private companies should bear civil responsibilities, it was observed that in the case of Qatar, thirty nine percent of the respondents chose to strongly agree while only four percent of the participants chose to strongly disagree. Another twenty eight percent chose to agree while only ten percent chose to select disagree as the option of their choice. However, nineteen percent of the participants chose to neither agree nor disagree on the subject. In the case of the UK and with regard to the very same question, it was observed that sixty two percent of the respondents chose to strongly agree while not a single one of the participants chose to strongly disagree. At the same time, the trend continued as twenty seven percent of the participants chose to agree while three percent of the participants chose to disagree, thereby leaving a mere eight percent who chose to neither agree nor disagree.

In the case of Qatar, it was evident that the respondents considered the presence of a strong need for private companies to bear civil responsibilities. Judging by the fact that the Qatar economy is one that is currently rapidly developing and has not reached a level of development where it can be considered to be parallel to stronger and more stable economies such as the UK economy and the US economy, it comes as no surprise that even though the desire to have private companies bear civil responsibilities exist, a significant share of respondent chose to neither agree nor disagree. With the passage of time and the development of the Qatar economy, we can surmise that this nineteen percent may choose to take a stance and may eventually end up either strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing.

In the case of the UK however, it was observed that the respondents’ did not share an element of doubt and chose to consider the need to have private companies bear civil responsibilities outright. The three percent of the respondents who chose to disagree with the notion of assigning civil responsibilities to private companies did not show much of a share as compared to the staggering sixty two percent of the respondents who chose to strongly agree. The fact that another twenty seven percent chose to agree and only eight percent were left to fall in none of the answer categories serves to show that unless there is a significant change in the UK economy, a shifting of the small eight percent of neutral respondents will have very little or no effect on the observations that came forth in the case of this question. This speculation can be made in light of the fact that even if the eight percent of the neutral survey questionnaire respondents were to shift to either one of the disagree or strongly disagree stances, the majority would still be held by those who agree and strongly agree to the notion that private companies should in fact have civil responsibilities.

However, when one takes a look at the observations for both countries in a comparative manner, there is a pattern that appears to be quite uniform. In both cases, the respondents have chosen to highlight the need for civil responsibility to be borne by private companies and there is no doubt that there appears to be very little room for the respondents to undergo a shift of opinion on this question.

Companies should primarily follow ethical principles rather than commercial ones

With regard to the question asked to determine whether or not companies should follow ethical principles as primary policies and give commercial principles a second place to them, it was observed in the case of Qatar that thirty percent of the respondents chose to strongly agree to the idea while a mere two percent chose to strongly disagree. Another nineteen percent chose to strongly agree while an observation nothing less than phenomenal showed that a similar share of the respondents chose to strongly disagree, leaving almost one third of the participants neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the hypothetical question.

In the case of the US and with regard to the same question, it was observed that a staggering fifty one percent of the respondents chose to strongly agree while not a single one of the participants chose to strongly disagree. Thirty six percent of the participants chose to agree while only five percent of the participants chose to disagree, leaving only eight percent of the participants neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the hypothetical question.

It is apparent from the observations presented above that the majority seems to be decided in its opinion in the cases of both the UK and Qatar, however there seems to be room for change in the case of Qatar when one considers the fact that thirty percent of the survey participants were unsure of which position to take on the question or did not choose to take a position altogether. In consideration of the fact that a share of participants in the case of Qatar remains in a neutral position and accounts for the same volume of respondents as does the share of those who chose to strongly agree, it is reasonable to surmise that a change in this trend may send the scenario spiralling into the opposite extreme where the majority of the respondents will then be either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing to the idea that companies should incorporate ethical principles in their policies rather than going for commercial ones. The answers with regard to those observed for the UK on the other hand appear to be quite stable and even if a major shift in respondent answer trends was to come about, we can still speculate that the majority will remain in agreement to the notion that companies should primarily make use of ethical principles rather than commercial principles. This finding serves to prove that a strong need for the acknowledgement and incorporation of ethical principles is felt in the UK and that there is a strong need to address this. On the other hand, the state of observations in the case of Qatar shows that the need for the incorporation of ethical principles as primary policy dictators rather than commercial principles is not as high. This can be inferred to be present in light of the fact that the developing economy in Qatar has only just begun to develop operating policies and is not currently engaged in any activities that could result in a noticeable breach of ethical principles.

Consumers must consider the policies of a particular business while buying a certain product

With regard to the third question that was asked to identify the respondents’ perception of the necessity that exists in the notion that a customer should generally consider the policies of the business when buying from that business. It was observed that in the case of Qatar, only twenty percent chose to strongly agree while ten percent chose to strongly disagree. Another seventeen percent chose to agree while the majority of the survey participants accounted for those who chose to disagree with the notion that consumers should consider the company’s policies before buying a product from that company. Only thirteen percent of the respondents chose to take a neutral stance in response to the question.

In the case of the responses received in answer to this question with regard to the UK, it was observed that the majority chose to strongly agree with the notion that a consumer should consider a company’s policies before purchasing a product from the company. In a very minor opposition was the four percent of the respondents who chose to strongly disagree with the idea that consumers should not pay attention to a company’s policies when purchasing a product of that company. Thirty four percent of the respondents chose to agree with the hypothetical question while only twelve percent of the respondents chose to disagree. Five percent of the respondents did not choose to take a position on the question.

It can be observed that the answers given by the respondents with regard to the UK and Qatar were ones that were in stark opposition to one another. While the respondents were cautious about company policies in the UK, they appeared to give relatively little relevance to company policies in Qatar. We can surmise that the Qatar economy, being one that is relatively new in its development when compared to that of the UK, is one in which concern about company policies is slowly developing as compared to the UK consumer market where concern about company policies seems to have taken on a strong role that cannot be ignored. Also, another observation was that the number of respondents who did not choose to take a stance with regard to the answers to the question was that there were very few who chose to remain neutral. This observation, when considered in light of the fact that the minorities for observations of both, Qatar and the US, serves to show that there is an increasing level of awareness that is steadily taking root across economies for the importance of the policies that companies exercise in the development of their products. It would therefore be justifiable to infer that an established economy tends to incorporate a degree of awareness of producer policies much higher than that of an economy less developed. Also, there appears to be a tendency of the observations to steadily move towards an increasing level of agreement with the notion presented in the question with regard to the consideration of policies of the company when purchasing a product from that company.

Organizations labour standards and workers rights

With regard to the question that sought to identify the position of the respondents with regard to the significance of labour standards and worker right’s of an organization when in the process of purchasing a product made by that organization. It was observed that in the cases of both, Qatar and the UK, the respondents appeared to be unanimous in their opinion that there is no need for the consumer to always regard to the significance of labour standards and worker right’s of an organization when in the process of purchasing a product made by that organization. On the other hand, the different between respondent opinions in the case of the two countries became strongly visible with the observation that only three percent of the respondents considered the labour standards and worker rights of an organization to be of any importance when choosing a product or service of the respective company. They were of the opinion that they frequently give consideration to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when they choose a product or service of the organization. On the other hand, ten percent of the participants in the case of the opinions expressed with regard to the Qatar consumer market believed that they seldom gave any relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choose a product or service of the organization. Only eight percent were of the opinion that they only occasionally gave relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when they choose a product or service of the organization. However, the majority of the responses received showed that a staggering seventy nine percent of the participants never choose to consider the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when they choose a product or service of the organization.

In the case of the US consumer market , thirteen percent of the consumer were of the opinion that they frequently gave relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choose a product or service of the organization while the majority was held by the share of participants which constituted forty one percent of the survey sample and stated that they occasionally choose to give relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choose a product or service of the organization. Thirty percent of the survey participants chose give seldom relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choose a product or service of the organization while sixteen percent of the participants never considered it imperative to consider the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choose a product or service of the organization.

It is apparent in the case of these observations that none of the two consumer groups are present at the maximum possible of concern over labour policies and worker rights of the organization when choosing a product or service of the organization. On the other hand, the presence of a difference is more than obvious in the fact that the majority of the survey participants in case of Qatar never choose to give any relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when they choose a product or service of the organization while the majority in the case of the US consumer market was one that occasionally gave relevance to the labour policies and worker rights of the organization when the choosey a product or service of the organization. This serves to show that there is a strong difference present between the perceptions of the UK consumer market and the Qatar consumer market as held by consumers of their respective markets.

Rejecting the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws

With regard to the question asked to determine whether consumers think it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws. It was observed that in the case of Qatar, ten percent of the survey participants believed and strongly agreed with the notion that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws while fifteen percent of the participants agreed to the idea that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws. Thirty three percent of the participants however chose to disagree while a mere seven percent of the participants strongly disagreed with the notion that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws. What comes as an essential findings is that thirty five percent of the survey participants chose not to take a position on whether or not it is important or not to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws.

In the case of the observations made for the same question with regard to the UK, it was observed that a staggering sixty one percent of the participants strongly agreed with the idea that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws while only twenty nine percent of the participants simply agreed that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws in the case of the UK. None of the participants strongly disagreed with the idea that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws while only a mere two percent chose to disagree while ten percent chose not to take a position on the whether or not it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws.

It is apparent from the observations with regard to this question that there is a higher level of consumer awareness in the UK than there is in Qatar with regard to the relevance of rejecting the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws. Also, the majority of the respondents in the case of Qatar came forth as ones that were undecided in their answers and it would therefore be reasonable to surmise that in the event that the perception changes, it may move towards disagreement to the idea that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws since if one was to consider the observations, there is a greater share of participants that chooses to disagree with the idea that it is necessary to reject the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws than there is for those who agree with the idea. This movement may in turn come forth as a strong difference between the perception of the necessity rejecting the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws that exists in the UK and Qatar.

Corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise

With regard to the question that sought to identify whether or not corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time, it was observed in the case of the responses received with regard to Qatar that thirty percent of the survey participants strongly agreed with the idea that corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time while not a single one of the participants strongly disagreed. Twenty one percent of the participants agreed while five percent of them disagreed with the hypothetical question that corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time. What came forth as somewhat an odd finding was that forty four percent of the survey participants chose to neither agree nor disagree?

In the case of the of the observations made with regard to the UK, eighty three percent of the participants held a strong share and totally agreed that corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time while none of them believed that corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time in the case of the UK. Fourteen percent of the participants agreed while none of them chose to disagree. Only a mere three percent of the participants represented the share that neither agreed nor disagreed that corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time.

It is evident from the observations that the general understanding with regard to the understanding that the corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time, is that corporate social responsibility is not taken to be essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise. While respondent opinions in the case of Qatar may be ones that appear to be indecisive, the uncertainty does not represent a threat to the general understanding. Also, consumers in the UK appear to be rather strong in their opinion since and recognition of corporate social responsibility as an essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise at the same time. However, even though the understanding is general and prevails similarly across both cases of the UK and Qatar, it is not one that is entirely same and there appears to be a tendency for consumer perceptions in the case of Qatar to undergo a change towards neutrality rather than outright agreement.

Corporate social responsibility in mass media

With regard to the question asked to evaluate the perceived frequency with which consumers hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media, it was observed in the case of Qatar that none of the consumers chose to state that they always hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media which came as no surprise sixty one percent of the respondents chose to state that they never hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media. Only four percent of the respondents stated that they frequently hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media whole twenty seven percent of the respondents said that they seldom hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media. Seven percent of the respondents chose to state that they only occasionally hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media in the case of Qatar.

In the case of the UK, it was observed that six percent of the of the respondents chose to express that they always hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media whole the very same percentage of respondents expressed that they never hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media. Twenty eight percent stated they frequently hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media while twenty eight percent considered their exposure to media based propagation of the corporate social responsibility in mass media to be no more than what can be classified as seldom. Only seven percent of the respondents thought they occasionally hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media.

In the case of the UK, it was observed that six percent of the respondents always hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media while twenty eight percent frequently hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media. Forty seven percent hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media while thirteen percent are exposed to it only seldom. It was also observed that six percent of the respondents in the case of the UK perceived that they never hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media.

it is apparent from the above observations that consumers hear about corporate social responsibility in mass media more frequently in the case of the UK than in Qatar since the observations show a tendency of the exposure in the case of Qatar to tend towards a lesser frequency while the observations in the case of the UK show an opposite trend and are more inclined towards a higher frequency of exposure to corporate social responsibility in mass media.

Consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities

In the case of the question asked to identify if respondents believe that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities, it was observed that in the case of Qatar, eight percent of the respondents strongly agree with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities while only one percent believes that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities. Fourteen percent of the consumers chose to agree with the hypothetical question while thirty four percent of the respondent chose to disagree with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities. A staggering forty three percent chose not to take a stance on the question in the case of Qatar.

The observations recorded in the case of the UK were far more concrete since sixty three percents of the respondents chose to strongly agree with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities while none of the respondents strongly disagreed. Twenty eight percent of the respondents agreed while none of the respondents disagreed with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities. Only nine percent of the respondents chose not to take a position on the question.

It is apparent from the above observation that the respondents in the case of the UK are far more decided in their opinion than they are in the case of Qatar.

It is apparent that there is a tendency of the respondents to consider disagreement with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities while there is an apparent decisiveness with the idea that consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities in the case of the UK.

Role of government enhance social responsibilities of the private business

With regard to the question that was designed to identify whether the respondents considered it important for the role of the government in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business, it was observed in the case of the observations made for Qatar that thirty eight percent of the respondents chose to strongly disagree with the idea that the government should play a role in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business while only five percent in comparison chose to strongly disagree. Twenty seven percent of the respondents chose to agree to the idea while twenty one percent disagreed with the idea that the government should play a role in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business. Only nine percent of the participants chose to neither agree nor disagree with the idea that the government should not play a role in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business.

In the case of the observations made with regard to the UK, it was observed that sixty one percent of the respondents chose to strongly agree with the idea that the governments should play a role in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business while none of the respondents chose to strongly disagree with the same. Twenty eight percent chose to agree while only three percent chose to disagree leaving only eight percent of the respondents who chose to neither agree nor disagree with the idea that the government should play a role in enhancing social responsibilities of the private business.

It is apparent in the case of this observation as it has become in the last few observations as well that there is decisiveness in consumer perceptions that prevail in the respondents with regard to the UK while the respondents appear to be visibly undecided in their opinions in the case of Qatar. Most responses are being observed to be ones in which there is either a straight forward similarity between respondent perceptions in the case of the UK as well as Qatar while others show an opposition in the form of the observations taking a concrete stance in the case of the UK while taking on an undecided and slightly opposing stance in the case of Qatar at the same time.

Interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country

The last question of the survey questionnaire was designed to take on a personalized approach to the study and sought to identify if the respondents take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in the respective country. In the case of Qatar it was observed that the respondents who always take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country did not account for any share of the participants and the majority was held by the fifty four percent who stated that they never take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in the respective country. Six percent of the respondents believed that they frequently take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country while eleven percent of the respondents believed that they occasionally take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country leaving twenty nine percent of the respondents who considered that they seldom take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in the respective country.

In the case of the UK, it was observed that the majority was held by the forty eight percent respondents who occasionally take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country while only eleven percent chose to state that they always take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in the respective country. Twenty one percent of the respondents believed that they frequently take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country while eighteen percent of the respondents believed that they seldom take interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country, leaving only two percent of the respondents representing a share that never takes interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in the respective country.

Summary

It is apparent from the above observations that there is a strong need to understand the difference between CSR awareness in developing and emerging markets. Not only do the responses indicate the presence of a strong difference but there is also an indication that there may be certain similarities that are particular to developed markets and may therefore take root in the emerging markets as they continue to develop. Numerous observations showed that there was a tendency for the emerging market to either follow the trends of the developed market or to move from one trend to another such that it would oppose the developed market. The Qatar market, taken as a representative of emerging markets in general, served to show that an emerging market is one that is highly sensitive and is one with regard to which consumer perceptions continue to evolve alongside the evolution of the developed market. It would therefore be reasonable to surmise that a developed market, such as the UK consumer market, is one for which consumers generally hold strong perceptions when considered with regard to CSR as oppose to an emerging market for which consumer perceptions are generally show tendencies to vary as the market continues to emerge and develop.

Conclusion

The discussion presented above and the research performed were carried out in order to determine the authenticity of the thesis statement which held that consumer perceptions across developed and developing economies have a significant degree of influence on Corporate Social Responsibility strategies. The research was conducted by performing a literature review of peer reviewed publications with regard to the intricacies of the Corporate Social Responsibility. Light was shed on the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility through a secondary research. The secondary research began with an introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility and moved on to provide a framework for the review to be carried out upon. Areas such as the implications of social responsibility and the factors that serve to motivate organizations to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility were highlighted. The discussion also brought forth the role of consumer awareness with regard to Corporate Social Responsibility. As the secondary research continued, it provided the researcher with knowledge required to carry out the primary research. The secondary research played a crucial role in the development of the survey questionnaire and once implemented, the findings of the survey questionnaire were analyzed in light of the secondary research to acquire a clear picture of the observations and their underlying trends.

It can be concluded in light of the research carried out that in the case of two different economies such as Qatar and the UK, the concern for Corporate Social Responsibility is higher in the UK than it is in Qatar, indicating a high degree of concern for Corporate Social Responsibility in the developed economies and a gradually increasing concern for the same in economies that are steadily developing. It can also be concluded that ethical principles are considered to be an integral part of Corporate Social Responsibility strategies in developed and developing economies alike and that company policies begin to acquire higher degrees of relevance in the consumers’ perception as the economy continues to grow. The research played a pivotal role in establishing that even though the concern for Corporate Social Responsibility is significant, regardless of the economy, the modern day end-user does not choose to give a high degree of relevance to the labour standards and worker rights practiced by companies although a high degree of concern does exist for the ethical standards the company follows.

The research served to prove that there consumers in developed markets are relatively more concerned about the contribution that Corporate Social Responsibility can make to the development of the community. The degree of relevance given by the media is an element that the secondary research shed light on particularly and the research showed that the role of the media is one that becomes highly diverse in the developed economy and in the developing economy. Consumers in emerging economies did not show a high degree of interest in acquiring knowledge of Corporate Social Responsibility while consumers in developed markets appeared to be more concerned about Corporate Social Responsibility policies.

The research attempted to contribute to the discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility in a broad context and attempted to do so by generating a comparative scenario between two different economies. The study carried out in the context of the research served to provide an extraordinary insight into Corporate Social Responsibility and also allowed the researcher to acquire a sound understanding of the application of Corporate Social Responsibility in customized scenarios. However, it is important to realize that certain limitations were present during the course of the research and in this regard, the researcher gave special attention to these limitations in order to ensure that they did not have an influence on the authenticity of the research.

With regard to the limitations encountered, it is imperative to note that the primary research instrument, although designed and implemented with the maximum care possible, was perhaps the one area where the research was most prone to falling victim to limitations. It is therefore advised that when the findings of this research are brought into use, the presence of the limitations that supplemented the use of the chosen primary research instrument should also be acknowledged. Another limitation that the research faced was that the secondary research attempted to make use of a large number of previous studies. The use of previous studies, while an apparently feasible option that seeks to add to the authenticity of the research, is an approach that comes with its own specific set of limitations. These limitations are far broad and far reaching than one would expect and are manifested in the fact that when each of the previous researches used was carried out, there were a set of limitations present as they are now and they may or may not have had an influence on the research findings. This uncertainty of implication may have had passive and indirect implications on this research since previous researches were used frequently throughout the study and were also brought into use in the development of the primary research instrument. However, it is of the utmost importance to note that the research was carried out with every possible care to ensure that only the most authentic of material was brought into use and that the application of the primary research questionnaire was performed without letting the study fall victim to the countless research limitations that exist. A fundamentally precautionary approach was followed during the data collection, the data handling and the data analysis.

Recommendations for further Research

The research was one that was fundamentally exploratory in its early stages and it is for the same reason that there were a number of areas that the research touched and which merited further discussion but were not the central focus of this research and therefore had to be passed by. In this regard, these topics can be considered as avenues for further research and any research carried out upon can in turn make use of the findings of this particular research.

It was observed that a significant degree of ambiguity underlies the exact definition of Corporate Social Responsibility. The literature analyzed in the process of this research served to prove that although there is a large volume of literature available on the implications of Corporate Social Responsibility and the manner in which it is exercised, most of the literature starts off by presenting multiple definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility, hence indicating the absence of a concrete definition of Corporate Social Responsibility. This research recommends that the exact definition of Corporate Social Responsibility is a subject that merits study since an establishment of this element can serve to be highly productive. This is because of the fact that it will not only allow future researches to perform more streamlined studies but shall also allow organizations to fashion their Corporate Social Responsibility policies in accordance with a threshold that is currently absent.

Appendix I – Case Study Elaboration

Corporate social responsibility in the Qatar economy

The concept of Corporate social responsibility is one that comes as a novel concept to middle east since a very brief span of time has passed since the middle east was introduced to the idea and practices of Corporate social responsibility when considered in comparison of the expansive breadth of time that the UK markets have been making use of it. However, it is a concept that is being realized readily and swiftly since organizations in Qatar are beginning to take on initiatives to exercise corporate social responsibility strategies more actively now than they ever did before. It is taken as an opportunity to actively engage in the improvement of living standards and the development of awareness for corporate citizenship. It has led to a spur of measures and actions taken for the sake of the development of the consumers.

An example can be found in the recent move by Qatar Airways in its flight from London to Doha that was made to fly on fuel derived from natural gas (Qatar Airways 2009). The attempt highlights a symbolic resolution on the part of organizations in Qatar to develop a clear perception across consumers of the increasing level of awareness towards corporate social responsibility that is steadily being integrated into the corporate culture. Qatar Airways is already known as a market leader in its industry and the attempt to come forth and take an initiative can be inferred to be the growth of a trend across organizations to increase their engagement in corporate social responsibility measures in order to contribute to the development of society (Qatar Airways 2009).

The reason because of which this example has been chosen to highlight is because Qatar Airways operates in a manner such that its operations span over eighty destinations and the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility on a level such as this serves to prove that the measures being carried out are on an extensively broad level and are meant to have an effect on the same level.

There is no doubt in the fact that Qatar has evolved into a rapidly emerging economy and its development shows an inclination to continue in an upward progression in the coming years (Qatar Airways 2009). However, the rapid increase in attention towards Corporate Social Responsibility has led to an increased degree of concern over opportunities and areas where commercial organizations can implement their Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and it is for the same reason that Corporate Social Responsibility practices often serve to spark controversial debates on the true motives of commercial organizations.

The beginnings of Corporate Social Responsibility in Qatar however, date back to the mid 1990s when Qatar began to make attempts to incorporate an increased level of democracy and liberation in its economy (Al-Khater and Naser 2003). Numerous limitations and restrictions were removed in order to encourage the growth of the economy and several measures were taken to increase privatization so that it could lead to an expansion of the consumer market. As progress began to accelerate, the desire to have a multilaterally beneficial economy began to develop in light of the religious followings of the country. At this point it became eventuality that a concept such as Corporate Social Responsibility would follow and it came as no surprise when Corporate Social Responsibility began to show concrete and developing foundations in the coming years (Al-Khater and Naser 2003).

It was observed that the differentiation in the influence of businesses on the social, economic and environmental aspects of a society tend to augment complexity in the establishment of a singular and all-purpose Corporate Social Responsibility strategy since emerging economies tend to be sensitive when it comes to the degree of security they provide to shareholders (Al-Khater and Naser 2003). A shareholder in an emerging economy can acquire expansive benefits as well as major losses through his/her involvement in the development and investment in the economy. An increase in specified Corporate Social Responsibility measures however can serve to decrease the apparent risk and add productivity to the long run.

Corporate social responsibility in the UK economy

The UK, being an established and rapidly evolving market, is one that was able to exercise CSR principles almost instantly. The advent of CSR caused the spurring of an expansive magnitude of research and corporate bodies across the UK began to invest and engage actively in CSR activities. It is for the same reason that UK now represents an economy that has matured in its CSR implementation and the perceptions held by consumers with regard to the CSR policies and strategies of commercial organizations have undergone a similar level of evolution. In this regard, the UK can be considered to be an excellent representation of a developed consumer market.

The UK market can be observed to be engaged in all forms of Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Corporate Social Responsibility in the UK is of the kind where the government not only encourages organizations to engage in it but also encourages them to ensure that all the members of the value chain of an organization are fully aware of the measures being taken by the organization. Publicity is an essential component of Corporate Social Responsibility in the UK since organizations in the UK generally choose to operate on broad levels of operations. They actively engage in measures through which they can reflect an image that is positive and devoid of the cold and crude corporate functions that commercial organizations are sometimes known for. In light of these facts, it would be reasonable to surmise that while Corporate Social Responsibility is highly active and is becoming increasingly populated in a developed economy such as that of the UK, the level of activity and measures being taken in emerging economies such as Qatar are from their counterparts in the UK.

Appendix II – Findings Tables

Table 1: Private companies must bear civil responsibilities

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 39 28 19 10 4
UK 62 27 8 3 0

Table 2: Companies should primarily follow ethical principles rather than commercial ones

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 30 19 30 19 2
UK 51 36 8 5 0

Table 3: Consumers must consider the policies of a particular business while buying a certain product

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 20 17 13 40 10
UK 45 34 5 12 4

Table 4: Organizations labour standards and workers rights

Always Frequently Occasionally Seldom Never
Qatar 0 3 8 10 79
UK 0 13 41 30 16

Table 5: Rejecting the companys goods or services if it pursues unethical marketing strategies, and violates of environment protection laws

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 10 15 35 33 7
UK 61 29 8 2 0

Table 6: Corporate social responsibility is essential for the welfare of the community and effectiveness of the enterprise

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 30 21 44 5 0
UK 83 14 3 0 0

Table 7: Corporate social responsibility in mass media

Always Frequently Occasionally Seldom Never
Qatar 0 4 7 28 61
UK 6 28 47 13 6

Table 8: Consumers should be more aware of companys social responsibilities

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 8 14 43 34 1
UK 63 28 9 0 0

Table 9: Role of government enhance social responsibilities of the private business

Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
Qatar 38 27 9 21 5
UK 61 28 8 3 0

Table 10: Interest in the social activities of the companies, operating in your country

Always Frequently Occasionally Seldom Never
Qatar 0 6 11 29 54
UK 11 21 48 18 2

References

Al-Khater, K. and Naser, K. (2003) Users’ Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility and Accountability: Evidence From an Emerging Economy. Managerial Auditing Accounting , 538-548.

Fonteneau, G. (2003) Corporate Social Responsibility – Envisioning its Social Implications. The Jus Semper Global Alliance – Living Wages North and South , 1-11.

Pohle, G. and Hittner, J. (2008) Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Social Responsibility. IBM Institute for Business Value , 1-17

Qatar Airways. (2009) Taking Social Responsibility and the Environment Seriously [online]. Web.

Univesity of Miami – Ethics Program. (2005) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) A Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) , 1-12

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