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

Wedian Albalwi, Tom McGovern*, Professor Aly Salama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


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/CSR programs in employment, housing and healthcare from 1932-1974. 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 institutionalised 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 analyse management statements in Company Reports and internal documents to identify and categorise the application of these impression management techniques up to when the Saudi government took a controlling stake in Aramco.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-56
Number of pages56
JournalEnterprise and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Apr 2023

Cite this