The construction industry plays a vital role in every economy by contributing substantially to the national gross domestic product (GDP). Despite the significance of the industry, construction is often criticized for adversely impacting society and the environment through the nature of its work. Managing societal and environmental impacts are at the heart of corporate social responsibility (CSR) which is a critical factor for achieving long-term competitiveness. CSR has been adopted by many industries to address the negative impacts that result from their operations. Research in CSR within the construction industry is limited and still in its infancy, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) where there is a negligible uptake of CSR activities and a lack of strategies and guidelines. The key question here is why the construction industry in KSA has not fully embraced the concept of CSR. This article presents the results of a literature study undertaken to develop an understanding of the reasons that militate against the implementation of CSR in general, and specifically in construction within KSA. The paper adopts a structured approach to analyze materials published on CSR, in general, and how it has been applied in the construction sector, including KSA. The analysis indicates that there are critical factors that have hampered the fulfillment of CSR requirements in construction. A lack of awareness and knowledge is ranked as the greatest barrier, and the lack of a practical and theoretical framework to examine the level of CSR implementation closely follows in tow. The analysis suggests that CSR within KSA is currently at a basic level and focused on philanthropic activities. It also indicates that there is a need to go beyond this basic level by developing an appropriate framework to assist KSA construction companies in integrating CSR fully into their business practice.
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