Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


University of Wollongong. Faculty of Commerce


This thesis examines corporate financial decisions, corporate governance and environmental concerns and their association with corporate performance in emerging markets, such as those in the Arabian Gulf Region. Despite the substantial published work on investigations into corporate finance decisions and practices, corporate governance and corporate performance, none have comprehensively studied the context of emerging markets. Indeed, most of the empirical research on this topic has been conducted in developed markets such as the USA and the UK. The research reported in this thesis addresses this significant gap in the literature by comprehensively investigating corporate finance decisions, corporate governance, environmental concerns and corporate performance in the context of Kuwait, an emerging market in the Arabian Gulf Region.

A substantial body of extant academic research describes the optimal corporate financial decisions that corporations should formulate. However, practical evidence shows that the way corporations actually make decisions is not always in line with academic decision rules and theories. The first objective of the research is therefore to rigorously and comprehensively investigate whether theories are aligned with the behaviours of financial managers in terms of their practices, particularly in the context of emerging markets. To this end, a comprehensive survey has been conducted to collect and analyze data on many corporate financial decisions, ranging from capital budgeting techniques to capital structure, cost of capital, dividend policy and corporate governance. This study measures the extent to which theoretical concepts have been adopted by professionals from a broad range of listed firms in Kuwait. An associated objective of the research is to investigate empirically the effect of corporate financial decisions and corporate governance on corporate performance among listed firms in Kuwait’s financial market.

Another objective of this thesis is to explore environmental considerations of business issues and examine empirically their association with corporate performance in the developing country, Kuwait. Environmental issues are a nascent challenge among business managers around the world and, this study uses Q methodology to investigate managerial perceptions towards environmental concerns for sustainable business practices when making strategic decisions. This study was conducted in both Kuwait and Australia, in order to provide a comparison between developing and developed countries.

The research lies within the post-positivist paradigm and adopts a mixed method approach to provide detailed insights into research findings. The research was conducted in four phases of data collection, as follows: in Phase 1 a survey-based questionnaire was used to explore corporate financial decisions and practices of firms in Kuwait; Phase 2 empirically examined the effect of corporate financial decisions and corporate governance on corporate performance in Kuwait; in Phase 3 a follow up survey-base questionnaire was used to explore environmental business sustainability issues and empirically examine their relationship with corporate performance among managers in Kuwait; Phase 4 of the Q study was conducted to reveal managerial perceptions toward environmental issues in a developed and a developing country, i.e. Australia and Kuwait.

The findings of the research have significant implications for both academics and practitioners. From a theoretical perspective, the research provides insights into how listed firms in Kuwait operate in regard to strategic financial decisions. It also identifies areas where academic recommendations have not been fully implemented by measuringthe extent to which theoretical concepts have been adopted by managers. From apractical perspective, it provides useful guidelines to managers about corporate financial decisions, corporate governance, environmental business sustainability and their contribution to firm value. Moreover, the implementation of Q study gives a deeper understanding of the research findings concerning environmental concerns affecting business sustainability.