Pro-Social Policies and Impression Management: The American Arabian Oil Company (Aramco), 1932-1974

Wedian Albalwi, Tom McGovern*, Aly Salama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In emerging economies, economic development and pro-social policies are closely entwined. Multinational corporations have presented a positive image of their economic and social activities to investors and society to justify exploiting countries’ natural resources. This study examines the Arabian American Oil Company’s (Aramco) pro-social/corporate social responsibility programs in employment, housing, and healthcare from 1932 to 1974. These programs did not stem from a philanthropic rationale but were necessary to enable Aramco to create the infrastructure to find, extract, and control the oil assets. Hierarchical control was institutionalized through racism and discrimination in employment, housing, and health regulations. However, Aramco adopted impression management strategies to present a positive image of itself as a socially responsible company contributing to the economic and social development of Saudi Arabia. We analyze management statements in company reports and internal documents to identify and categorize the application of these impression management techniques up to when the Saudi government took a controlling stake in Aramco.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalEnterprise and Society
Early online date1 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2023

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