Exploring Muslim Attitudes Towards Corporate Social Responsibility: Are Saudi Business Students Different?

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This study investigates potential differences in attitudes towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) between Saudis and Muslims from other predominately Islamic countries. We propose that Saudi Arabia’s unique rentier-state welfare and higher education systems account for these distinctions. In evaluating our propositions, we replicate Brammer et al. (J Bus Eth 71(3):229–243, 2007) survey on attitudes towards CSR using a sample of Saudi undergraduate and graduate business students and compare the results against data from subjects in other majority Muslim countries. In addition, this work examines possible differences within the Saudi sample with respect to sex and academic level. Our results indicate that our Saudi subjects maintain higher expectations for corporations’ social responsibility within their supply chain than the Brammer et al.’s sample. In contrast, Muslims in the Brammer et al.’s sample hold higher expectations for corporations in supporting societal development and poverty alleviation in comparison to the Saudi sample. We also find within the Saudi sample that females and subjects at higher academic levels are more inclined to hold corporations responsible for social issues related to CSR than males and subjects in lower academic levels. We examine these findings, explore their implications, and propose areas for future research.