Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company: CSR Principles

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Introduction

Living in the modern world of great market competition, the companies mostly think about the personal profit that can be reached via the work with the customers. Furthermore, various ethnic and culturally diverse business partners and rivals demanded the creation of some policies that could regulate business relations and make all the participants in an equal position relating to the communicational and ethical norms.

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There are some business rules and regulations in the business world that must be followed. Corporate social responsibility is usually defined as “a commitment to improving community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources” (Kotler & Lee 2005, p. 3). There are different points of view on whether corporate social responsibility positively affects the business sphere or negatively.

Constant quarrels and arguments of the opposite sides on the advantages and disadvantages of using the corporate social responsibility principles are numerous. Some state the importance to use corporate social responsibility as those methods help to regulate the business world, while the others dwell upon corporate social responsibility as the intention to eliminate the core principle of business, earning a profit, and make it a social field (Senser 2007).

The core point of interest in the article remains the corporate social responsibility in the United Arab Emirates, its specifics, and peculiarities. Focusing on the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company, the main purpose of the research is to conduct an interview with Saeed M. Al Tayer, the company CEO, and with the other employees and understand how the corporate social responsibility is implemented in the company; it is also crucial to understand the level of corporate social responsibility implementation in the company and consider employees’ reaction to the company policy.

Literature Review

Understanding the main principles of corporate social responsibility, it is crucial to analyze two different opinions on the problem. Some scholars and business people consider corporate social responsibility as the supporter for the business development in the world, while others understand corporate social responsibility as the barrier to business development in its primary meaning.

Maksimainen, Saariluoma, and Jokivuori (2009) claim that the core idea of the corporate social responsibility is “how companies consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on different stakeholders from owners to employees and customers as well as the environment” (p. 557). Considering this issue as the positive factor, the authors are sure that the corporate social responsibility they declare helps business structure be customers directed and socially beneficial. Businesses should bring some positive aspects to society and corporate social responsibility tries to regulate those aspects.

Corporate social responsibility implements initiatives that are aimed at supporting “social causes and fulfilling commitments to corporate social responsibility” (Kotler & Lee 2005, p. 3). Aguilera, Rupp, Williams & Ganapathi (2007) point to the fact that those initiatives are aimed at the changes in the business to improve the surrounding world. The changes may be different but they are always directed to the social benefits, namely the changes in the manufacturing processes for reducing the harmful impact on the environment and the changes in the labor relations.

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Barrett (2009) underlines not only the social benefits of corporate social responsibility but also dwells upon the ethical side of the problem. The author tries to draw a parallel between corporate social responsibility and business ethics and, finally, concludes that those notions may be called synonyms. The research conducted by Andersson, Giacalone, and Jurkiewicz (2007) in the relation to the ethical direction of corporate social responsibility specifies that “the importance of socially responsible actions can be impacted by an interaction of hope and gratitude when dealing with issues of ethics and philanthropy” (p. 407).

Senser (2007), vice versa, calls into question the importance and positive effect of corporate social responsibility stressing it as “on a faulty — and dangerously faulty — analysis of the capitalist system” (p. 77). de-Los Angeles Gil Estallo, Giner de-la Fuente and Griful-Miquela (2007) researched the advantages of corporate social responsibility, still, they also noticed some limitations of the principle and negative affect on business and stakeholders (shareholders, suppliers, citizens, and customers) in general. The main limitation is that the company cannot follow all the corporate social responsibility principles as in this case, it will function beyond its interests. It is impossible to meet all the desires, such as political, social-economical, and business objectives.

Turning to the problem of corporate social responsibility in the United Arab Emirates, it should be noticed that several authors researched this question. Katsioloudes and Brodtkorb (2007) researched corporate social responsibility and its performance in the United Arab Emirates. The main conclusion is that being the East country, the United Arab Emirates remains in the epicenter of wars and different terroristic acts.

It is rather difficult to remain a socially directed country, still, the United Arab Emirates managed to implement the principles of corporate social responsibility in the region and remained the country with stable political and economical factors. The problem of implementation of corporate social responsibility in the organizations is rather sharp in the country as one of the characteristics of the region is multiculturalism.

The integration of corporate social responsibility in the region became possible with the influence of the Western countries. The main conclusion of the research in the study is that corporate social responsibility is highly developed in the United Arab Emirates and the business world tries to assist in the improvement of the business processes and cares of their positive influence on society (Katsioloudes & Brodtkorb 2007).

Continuing the research of the studies devoted to the United Arab Emirates and the implementation of the corporate social responsibility in the region, it is crucial to mention the work by Rettab, Brik & Mellahi (2009) who tried to evaluate the “financial performance, employee commitment, and corporate reputation” of the companies with the purpose to understand the connection between corporate social responsibility and organizational performance. The conducted research pointed to the fact that corporate social responsibility in the companies of the United Arab Emirates positively affected organizational performance.

Thus, it may be concluded that there are two opposite opinions on the corporate social responsibility principles, positive and negative. About the United Arab Emirates, it is possible to claim that the country possesses good potential in the business sphere and aims to create the ethical and corporate socially responsible business sector.

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Methodology

The study is aimed at the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company. The main purpose of the research is to consider the corporate social responsibility principles that take place in the company and evaluate employees’ attitudes to the company’s actions. The qualitative method for the research conduction was chosen as it is the best way to gather employees’ opinions with the focus on the further analysis of the collected information. The interview as a technique for the qualitative method is chosen. The interview will be conducted with Saeed M. Al Tayer, the company CEO, and with some other employees who can answer the questions. The answers of the employees will be summarized and analyzed. The conclusion of the research will be presented with a further discussion of the results obtained while the questionnaire.

Sample and procedure

The participants of the interview are Saeed M. AL Tayer and 10 other employees of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company. The same 10 questions were asked to those respondents in oral form. They had to answer the questions relating to their personal opinion. The interview was conducted individually. The participants were chosen randomly without considering age and sex characteristics. The main condition for participation in the interview was the period people had already worked in the company. Those employees who did not work in the company for 5 years were debarred from participation in the experiment.

The respondents had enough time to answer the questions. The research questions are designed by Katsioloudes & Brodtkorb (2007) who applied them to the other company. The questions can be answered either “yes” or “no”, still, was not obligatory to answer the question if the interviewee did not know the answer. The respondents were free to express their personal opinion and comments if any. The questions will be used for our research to understand the corporate social responsibility of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company.

  1. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company follow the United Arab Emirates environmental law?
  2. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company conduct the assessment of its environmental impact?
  3. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company have effective internal measures in case of the environment harming activities sanction?
  4. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company consider the impact on the environment by the suppliers’ actions?
  5. Is the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company involved in favor project in the local community?
  6. Does the company possess plans for spending resources for social purposes?
  7. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company conduct the tests for the security of the new products before putting them on the market?
  8. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company record the customers’ complaints about further analysis?
  9. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company have a policy in the corporate social responsibility area?
  10. Does the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company report on the activities conducted in the corporate social responsibility area?

Results Analysis

The results of the analysis are not surprising as it was predicted that the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company is corporate socially responsible. The results are put in table 1 for better perception.

Table 1. Questionnaire results.

Number of question Yes Not Not sure/do not know
1 6 2 3
2 5 2 4
3 2 7 2
4 5 1 5
5 5 2 4
6 6 1 4
7 6 1 4
8 11 0 0
9 3 1 7
10 8 1 2

Having presented the research results of all the respondents, it is crucial to specify and specially mention the answers by Saeed M. Al Tayer as being the company CEO he is most aware of the work the company conducts in the area of corporate social responsibility. The Saeed M. AL Tayer’s answers are put in table 2.

Table 2. Saeed M. AL Tayer’s answers.

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Question 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Answer yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes no yes

110 answers were got from 11 employees (10 simple employees and the CEO of the company). Thus, when the results are got, it may be concluded that 51.8% of employees were sure that the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company is corporate socially responsible. Only 16.36% of respondents were unfavorably set against that company’s positive image in the area of corporate social responsibility. As the interviewees were not forced to answer the question they did not know the answers for, 31.8% of respondents were either unsure of what they were asked or did not know the answer.

Saeed M. AL Tayer’s answers are significant as being the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company’s chief executive officer, he knows for sure the answers for each question. Thus, according to Saeed M. AL Tayer’s answers, the company was corporate socially responsible (80% of answers). The company does not have a specific corporate social responsibility policy that could legally imprint the actions the company must follow. Moreover, there is one more limitation in the company in the relation to corporate social responsibility, the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company does not have effective internal measures in case of the environment harming activities sanction.

Discussion

Discussing the results, it is possible to notice that the employees of the company are not very aware of the company’s actions, still, they are rather informed about the company’s actions devoted to the social activities. While answering the questionnaire, Saeed M. AL Tayer was not bound by yes-no answers and provided us with a detailed explanation and comments to each of the questions. Based on his answers, it may be concluded that the company strictly followed Dubai’s environmental law and contributed to nature protection via using the equipment that helps reduce the harmful effect on the environment.

Furthermore, the company tried to foster the suppliers and other stakeholders in the understanding of the importance of environmental protection. The suppliers of the company were encouraged to use environment-friendly techniques, as well as renewable sources, and giving a try to reduce the minions connected to the manufacturing. Saeed M. AL Tayer noted that it is detailed in the company’s Environmental Policy (Government of Dubai 2010) that the company cooperates “fully with relevant governmental and non-governmental bodies” and assesses “the likely environmental effects of planned projects and operations”.

Still, the company does not have effective internal measures in case of the environment harming activities sanction and it is one of the company’s limitations. But, being rather young, almost 20 years old (Government of Dubai 2010), the company has the goal strive to. As it was mentioned above, the company cares greatly about the local community and offers plans for the improvement of the environmental situation in the region. Saeed M. AL Tayer is sure that the company wants to be useful for society as the material and spiritual wellbeing of the citizens of the country is the guarantee for successful company development.

Based on both Saeed M. Al Tayer’s answers and the answers of all 10 employees, the company records the customers’ complaints about further analysis. It may be also seen on the company’s website, where people are free to leave their suggestions and comments on all the points that concern the company. Furthermore, the company reports to the citizens of the country about the activities that were conducted. Nevertheless, being a corporate socially responsible company, it does not have a corporate social responsibility policy that could regulate the actions and the activities the company provides.

It is significant to notice that all the respondents (100%) are aware of the fact that the company records the customers’ complaints and analyzes them. The fact of all employees’ familiarity with this fact proves that the company is customers directed. It is also crucial to underline that 72.7% of employees know that the company reports to society about the activities that were conducted. The respondent doubted the fact that the company has effective internal measures in case of the environment harming activities sanction as only 18% answered positively. It is also important to notice that 27.3% of respondents are sure that the company has a corporate social responsibility policy which is wrong.

The main contribution of the research and of the results that were obtained is the understanding that the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company is a corporate socially responsible company with a high scope of activities that are directed to the improvement of the general situation in the country. Most of the activities conducted by the company are devoted not only to its direct responsibility, the supply of electricity and water to the cities but also to the general wellbeing of citizens, making a notice of the fact that the company does not have the corporate social responsibility policy. The indirect research results showed that not all of the employees are aware of the company’s activities, but those results should not be very trusted about the limitations of the study.

Limitations of the Study

The main limitation of the chosen method is that employees may be personally prejudiced and sometimes their answers are not objective. The bias in the measurement may be the result of the socially responsible behavior that was not considered during the interview. Furthermore, some employees are not always aware of the processes that take place in the company. Several employees that are asked cannot consider the whole situation and are unable to reflect the whole picture. Thus, the main limitations of the study are as follows, the perceptual data, unawareness of the real situation, the personal judgment of some events that are not supported with the information from credible sources, and the small number of employees who are unable to represent us the whole picture of the research.

Recommendations

Based on the results and the limitations, the following recommendations for further research may be offered. First of all, a greater number of the employees should be interviewed for reducing the statistical error and consider the more detailed and accurate picture of the company’s activities devoted to corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, the conducted research made it possible to design the other research and direct it to the other way. Basing on the obtained results, it may be crucial to consider the impact of the company’s activities in the corporate social responsibility area on the life inside the company and outside it.

The other recommendation for the research is to interview the company’s customers. Such activity could cast light on the company’s reputation among the consumers of its products and services. Furthermore, the review of the secondary sources, different financial and other types of documents’ evaluation may be conducted about the company’s activities in the corporate social responsibility sphere.

Ending the paper with the recommendations for the company, it may be crucial to notice that two main factors should be taken into account, the company should create the corporate social responsibility policy where all the main points it conducts should be imprinted. Furthermore, the company should have effective internal measures in case of the environment harming activities sanction for its safety. It would be great if the public changes will be conducted interns of employees’ awareness of the company’s activities. The research showed that some of the company workers do not know the main social activities the company provides.

Thus, it could be profitable to make the plan for corporate social responsibility week. The main idea of this week may be the seminars and other activities directed to the informing of the employees of the work the company does in the corporate social responsibility direction. Furthermore, the creation of the corporate social responsibility policy will make it possible to show people the direction they should personally follow.

It is crucial to understand that the social awareness of the fact that the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company is corporate responsible will improve its image and create a positive name for the company. The social approvement of the company’s activities will encourage it for the further actions which are sure to be profitable not only to the company but to the whole country society as well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the research is devoted to the corporate social responsibility in the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company. The quantitative method with the interview research technique was chosen for the study. 11 employees were asked including the company’s CEO, Saeed M. Al Tayer. The research showed that the company is corporate social responsibility directed and conducts several activities that are devoted to the social wellbeing of the country’s citizens.

The company performs its social responsibility without the legal policy which could regulate the company’s activities. Still, the company cares greatly about the customers’ and suppliers’ benefits via being corporate socially responsible. It is also crucial to mention that company’s actions raise its image in the country, making it positive. Though, being corporate socially responsible, the company has an eye for the main chance as the social direction of the company raises its popularity and increases the demand for its products.

Evaluation of the research procedure

One of the most difficult activities for the research was the primary data collection as the research was conducted for 11 employees. First of all, the interview was not obligatory and most people just did not want to waste their time answering questions. Next, Saeed M. AL Tayer, the company’s CEO, is a person who is responsible for a great many different activities and it was difficult for him to find time to answer our questions.

To our delight, the calculations of the percentages and the analysis of the results were much easier than what was predicted. Still, it is possible to assume that the analysis of the results seemed easy as not many people were involved in the interview. In case of conducting the same interview but with a more number of people in the future, the Microsoft Office Excel program should be used for table creation, as it makes it easy to perform the calculations.

Conducting the same research for the next time, the interview should be obtained in a written form as it may allow reducing the time spent on the process. Giving respondents the list of multiple-choice questions with the place for comments, if necessary, people will answer faster. Moreover, this way of the questionnaire will make it easy to analyze the results as people may be asked to fulfill the special table individually. Another variant for the interview conduction is the computerized one when respondents just have to click on the chosen variant. This will greatly reduce the time for summarizing the results.

References

Aguilera, R., Rupp, D., Williams, C. & Ganapathi, J., 2007. Putting the S back in corporate responsibility: a Multilevel theory of social changes in organization. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), pp. 836-863.

Andersson, L., Giacalone, R. & Jurkiewicz, C., 2007. On the relationship of hope and gratitude to corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 70(4), pp. 401-409.

Barrett, D., 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility and Quality Management Revisited. Journal for Quality & Participation, 31(4), pp. 24-30.

de-los Angeles Gil Estallo, M., Giner de-la Fuente, F., & Griful-Miquela, C., 2007. The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Limits. International Advances in Economic Research, 13(3), pp. 379-388.

Government of Dubai, 2010. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. Web.

Katsioloudes, M. & Brodtkorb, T., 2007. Corporate Social Responsibility: An Exploratory Study in the United Arab Emirates. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 72(4), pp. 9-20.

Kotler, P. & Lee, N., 2005. Corporate social responsibility: doing the most good for your company and your cause. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Maksimainen, J., Saariluoma, P. & Jokivuori, P., 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility and Values in Innovation Management. Proceedings of World Academy of Science: Engineering & Technology, 41, pp. 557-561.

Rettab, B., Brik, A. & Mellahi, K., 2009. A Study of Management Perceptions of the Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Organisational Performance in Emerging Economies: The Case of Dubai. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(3), pp. 371-390.

Senser, R., 2007. Corporate Social Responsibility. Dissent, 54(1), pp. 77-82.

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