Adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility: Board Competencies and Roles

  •  Mohammed Naif Z Alshareef    
  •  Kamaljeet Sandhu    


This study aims to discover non-executive directors’ competencies that important to improve their roles towards the adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To begin with, the review of the existing body of literature on the topic of Corporate Governance (CG) codes and the survey of numerous postulations offered is conducted. A qualitative interpretive approach is adopted, based on in-depth interviews conducted with board and management levels of the two companies operate in Saudi Arabia. The key outcomes of the study suggest that (i) NEDs’ independence represents a typical practice in CG and; (ii) NEDs’ competencies and roles represent a governance issue which needs to be addressed via CG code to protect the stakeholder groups. The findings imply a shift in the recent focus on developing and reforming CG Codes towards CSR orientation and the growing role of NEDs in stakeholder’s protection. The key contribution of the study can be found in the enhancement of the current level of understanding of non-executive directors’ competencies and role and the improvement of CG codes to address the issue of stakeholder engagement. The multiple-theoretical framework including aspects of resources dependence, stakeholder and resource-based view of the firm theories allows for the interpretation of the link between NEDs competencies and roles in the CSR context. Board members and managers can find this study useful in improving the election criteria of NEDs’ appointing mechanisms. Additional implications relate to policy makers as the need for increasing the regulatory capacity and legal systems in the area of CG reform is highlighted. Stakeholder’s pressures and forced and normative variety in particular have the potential to enhance the level of CSR adoption.

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