The Qatary Predicament. A critical evaluation of FIFA’s prominent ethical dilemma

Term Paper, 2014

19 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of Tables

List of Figures

1. Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Structure

2. Theoretical Background
2.1 Business Ethics
2.2 Corporate Social Responsibility
2.3. The Qatari perspective

3. Methodology
3.1. Types of research
3.2. Materials

4. Results

5. Discussion

6. Recommendations

7. Conclusion

List of References

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of Tables

Table 1: Summary of findings

List of Figures

Figure 1: The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility

Figure 2: Percentage of labour distribution in Qatar

The exposure of human rights violations in Qatar’s construction business in relation to the FIFA World Cup 2022 has put the FIFA, an organisation with a profound commitment to CSR, under immense international, public pressure. As the FIFA is struggling to be proactive and meet the expectations of society, this research paper aims to serve as a guideline for the FIFA how to evaluate this situation and to demonstrate the necessity of implementing measures. The reports of renowned, international, non-governmental organisations deliver proof of severe human rights violations and inadequate protection of workers. The analysis from an ethical standpoint comes to the conclusion that the inevitability to act in this situation is justified. Therefore, the implementation of a four-step approach is suggested, which pursues the improvement of working conditions and the reestablishment of FIFA’s reputation and credibility. Further research could focus upon the analysis of approaches to HRM practices in Qatar by other internationally, operating companies.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Arguably the world’s most prominent sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, will take place in Qatar in 2022. An event of such dimensions has significant impacts upon the hosting country (Masterman, 2009). Due to the World Cup 2022, many construction projects have been initiated in Qatar. For the purpose of managing these construction projects, the state of Qatar relies on recruiting a high number of foreign, low-wage workers (Abdalla, 2006).

While the state of Qatar is in the midst of its preparations for hosting this event, recent reports published by international non-governmental organisations HRW and AI (AI, 2013, 2014; HRW, 2013) have exposed unethical HRM practices in the construction business in Qatar. This has put the FIFA under immense international, public pressure. The development and analysis of this business situation is not only extremely relevant, because the World Cup represents the first major sporting event held in this region, but also because the research interest in HRM in the Middle East has only started in recent years.

1.2 Purpose

In respect thereof, the purpose of this essay comprises two different aspects. First, it aims to legitimate the necessity for the FIFA to be proactive in this business situation by applying ethical theories. Second, it intends to propose actions that could serve as possible solutions.

1.3 Structure

In the first part, the theoretical background of business ethics, CSR and the specific characteristics of HRM practices in Qatar will be introduced. The second part will deal with the reports and findings of HRW and AI. Consequently, the application of the theories will provide evidence why it is inevitable for the FIFA to be proactive. A set of actions will be recommended along with a critical discussion of FIFA’s approach to this issue. In the end, avenues for further research will be suggested.

2. Theoretical Background

2.1 Business Ethics

Gupta (2014, p.107) defines ethics “as a collection of principles of right conduct that shape the decisions people or organizations make.” As ethical issues that arise in modern business can be very complex and dynamic, it is often very difficult to determine right and wrong conduct (Fisher & Lovell, 2009). The morality, which is characterized by the norms, beliefs and values of individuals or organizations rationalises ethics (Crane & Matten, 2010). Hence, determining between right and wrong is always dependent upon the morality of the involved individual or organizations. Relating this to business situations, it can be noted that ethics in business focuses upon whether a specific practice or conduct is morally acceptable or not. In order to provide ethical standards for employees, most international companies define their own code of conduct (Torrington, Hall, Taylor & Atkinson, 2008).

Common business situations are always influenced by individual and situational factors, nevertheless, normative ethical theories seek to provide rules and principles for what is right and wrong in every business situation (Beauchamp & Bowie, 1997). Among normative ethical theories, two types of theories concerning the rightness and wrongness of actions can be identified: consequentialism and non-consequentialism.

The foundation of consequentialist theories, namely egoism and utilitarianism, is the principle that the rightness or wrongness of one’s behaviour or conduct is determined by its consequences (Portmore, 2014). Thus, an action is seen as morally acceptable, if the outcome is either positive for the decision maker (egoism) or for the greatest number of people affected by the decision (utilitarianism).

On the other side, non-consequentialist theories, such as the ethics of rights and justices, imply that every person is featured with moral values and therefore ponders if a decision or action is right or wrong before thinking about the consequences (Crane & Matten, 2010). Moreover, it notes that every person is entitled to basic rights, such as the right to freedom, life and privacy, which need to be protected with every action (Shah, 2010). Consequently, an organisation will only decide to implement measures, if two requirements are fulfilled: The conformity of the measure with the organisational values and the protection of basic rights.

When cases of wrong conduct are determined, companies are often facing difficult decisions. In this regard, the term “dilemma” refers to a situation in which organizations have to make a difficult decision between two alternatives that can be equally unfavourable (Carsten & Hernes, 2008). The concept of globalisation, which Stevenson (2010, p. 744) defines as “a process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale”, can additionally increase the complexity of the situation. Due to different cultural norms or legal systems, the approach to business ethics, and thereby the determination of what is right and wrong, varies in different regions of the world and these differences need to be considered when organizations operate internationally (Crane & Matten, 2012).

2.2 Corporate Social Responsibility

The terms of CSR and business ethics are often used interchangeably, however CSR represents just one discipline within the field of business ethics (Gupta, 2014). The main responsibility of corporations has historically been to increase the value of shareholders and earn profits. Over the last decades, the responsibilities have shifted towards a broader understanding, due to the rising power and impact of businesses and the increasing expectations of society. This is termed as CSR (Catalyst Consortium 2002; Crane & Matten, 2013).

Fig. 1. The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility (Carroll, 1991)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In dependence with Carroll’s framework (Figure 1) organizations should act upon four premises (Carroll, 1991). The main objective is to operate efficient and economical, but also obeying legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities (Carroll, 1991). Thus, consistent with McWilliams, Siegel and Wright, (2006), CSR can be interpreted as actions through which companies facilitate social benefit beyond its interests and legal requirements.

2.3. The Qatari perspective

Qatar is located in the Persian Gulf and due to its enormous oil and gas appearance the state has become one of the richest countries in the world (BBC, 20139.Periods of economic growth have led to the reliance on imported labour, with a non-Qatari labour force of 94% in 2011 (Fig. 2).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 2: Percentage distribution of labour force in Qatar


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The Qatary Predicament. A critical evaluation of FIFA’s prominent ethical dilemma
Sport Academy Cologne  (Institut für Sportökonomie und Sportmanagement)
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Julius Ohnesorge (Author), 2014, The Qatary Predicament. A critical evaluation of FIFA’s prominent ethical dilemma, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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