This study aims to investigate employees’ perceptions of socially responsible financial services brands in Saudi Arabia. The study also identifies the motives and challenges for Islamic banks for higher involvement in social responsibility initiatives to enhance their brand values.
An inductive approach was used in this study to identify the motives and challenges related to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The research design uses a qualitative approach where in-depth interviews were carried out among the employees in the financial services sector in Saudi Arabia.
Findings provide insights about how CSR initiatives for financial services brands in a developing and Islamic country are perceived. Results show that the focus of CSR activities is on the attribute of CSR, the magnitude of CSR and attitude towards CSR. Results show two main motives to engage in CSR activities, which are instrumental and ethical motives. The main challenges are related to the government, business, charitable organisations and customers and society.
Implications exist for how CSR is perceived in a new context and in the financial services industry. Understanding the current perception of CSR from a financial service brand perspective helps policymakers to develop appropriate platforms for financial service providers to become more socially involved.
The major contribution of this study lies in investigating the CSR perception among the key stakeholder (i.e. the employees) from a brand management perspective in the Saudi Arabian financial services sector. Further, this study shows the main motives and challenges, which local financial service brands face to become socially responsible. The categories of attributes, magnitude and attitudes can be used to enhance brand value in one of the economically advanced countries in the Arabic world, Saudi Arabia. In the first category “attribute”, the perception of socially responsible banks are highlighted, while the elements of CSR, including its dimensions, are emphasised in the second category “magnitude”. The third category “attitude” shows two themes, including stakeholders’ issues and business-related issues.
This study received support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71672058).
Ajina, A.S., Roy, S., Nguyen, B., Japutra, A. and Al-Hajla, A.H. (2020), "Enhancing brand value using corporate social responsibility initiatives: Evidence from financial services brands in Saudi Arabia", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-11-2017-0145Download as .RIS
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