Anna-Lena Punken University of Hamburg Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Title: Essays on A Different Kind of Business Ethics? Energy Companies as Political Actors in the Authoritarian Context of the Middle East Abstract: My research project intends, firstly, to conceptually and empirically clarify the distinct relationships of both Middle Eastern and multinational energy corporations and Middle Eastern, authoritarian governments as well as the respective societies. As the proposed research project takes a very inter- and multidisciplinary approach, the theories it will be working with will stem from contemporary business ethics research, political science and theory as well as sociology. The main intention in this regard is discovering “the” Middle Eastern views and perspectives on the purpose of business itself, rather than “just” drawing upon theories and approaches mainly developed in the Western hemisphere. The research project benefits from extensive qualitative interview research with Arab business and governmental decision makers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. The project focuses on the energy sector (oil, gas and nuclear) as energy corporations are the region´s most central business actors given the limited economic diversification prevalent in those countries, and, given the nature of their business ("sin industries"), are subject to public discourses on sustainability, environmental protection, stakeholder Management and other relevant CSR- or business ethics-related issues. The Middle East has been chosen as a region of interest as it displays both degrees of homogeneity as well as degrees of diversity, e.g. when it comes to the political systems, the different societies and their value systems, the structure of economy etc.