Corporate social reporting in the Arab Spring region

  • Muhammad Al Mahameed

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Using two primary research methods (a) critical discourse analysis (CDA), and (b) semi-structured interviews, this study explores the corporate social reporting practice in the Arab Spring region. It examines how this practice is took place under the changing political, economic and political landscapes that have accompanied the event of the Arab Spring, and the role of culture in shaping this practice. Drawing on a novel theoretical framing to the accounting field the ‘Culture Toolkit’ helps the researcher to highlight the unarticulated social accounting’s nature of producing and organising lines of action in re-building an absent/ broken socio-cognitive scaffolding structure through navigating cultural patterns. Further, Culture Toolkit articulates the way in which growing community involvements in the social accounting practice shape and localise this scaffolding structure. Looking into the textual and media outcomes of this corporate social reporting practice via the lens of Wodak and Meyer (2015) CDA approach, I argue that corporate social reporting within a fluctuating context (the Arab Spring) is a philological spectrum in which Arab companies (re) produce their corporate images, representing stability and continuity. This practice deploys an intense set of linguistic strategies – argumentation, exemplification and magnification – to transform the corporate social reporting practice into a hybrid textual/ media space whereby the changes in political, economic and societal positions are justified. At a different linguistic level, the choice of words and grammar is crucial in constructing corporate social reporting topics and stakeholder engagements, and introducing new contents. Further, this study frames corporate social reporting as a practice that is operated under externalised cultural patterns, while it used to manage and shape the relations between the Arab companies and their stakeholders. Different forms of the corporate social reporting practice were motivated by the embedded cultural meanings in the region. However, exercising this practice under a socio-cognitive scaffolding that is empowered by political and economic ties strained these cultural meanings to produce and organise lines of action. Yet, a breakdown in the socio-cognitive scaffolding does not principally activate these cultural meanings but rather uncovers a reflexive practice that relies on the ideologies and vocabularies of this scaffolding. The activation of these cultural meanings comes as a result of realising the breakdown whereby the lines of action were no longer supported by this scaffolding. The study argues that Culture Toolkit theoretical framing helps the analysis to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism that generates a demand for supporting cultural system to guide the social accounting practice as the old practice triggers a series of violations of expectation for the future.
Date of Award12 Dec 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorFlorian Gebreiter (Supervisor), Ataur R Belal (Supervisor) & Alan D Lowe (Supervisor)


  • social accounting
  • culture toolkit
  • Arab Spring
  • CSR
  • Egypt
  • Tunisia
  • Jordan
  • Morocco

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