Purpose – This paper examines the extent to which Saudi listed companies report online information about their corporate governance practice in light of the guidance issued by the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (SACMA), thereafter.
Methodology – We adopted a content analysis approach, accordingly a corporate governance disclosure index is developed to analyse the content of every company's website.
Findings – We found that the majority of Saudi listed companies utilise the Internet to communicate some information about corporate governance to their stakeholders. We also found that the level of online reporting of corporate governance varies between sectors. In particular, the paper revealed that the banking sector has the highest level of corporate governance disclosure compared with other sectors. On the other side, companies in the industry and service sectors provide very little information about corporate governance on their websites. The results suggest that the nature of control over the sector, the involvement of government in the ownership and management of businesses and some social assumptions could have an impact on companies’ decision to disclose online information about their corporate governance in developing countries.
Practical implications – The importance of investigating online reporting of corporate governance in Saudi Arabia emerges from the fact that SACMA published a guidance in 2006 that recommends the disclosure of corporate governance information by Saudi listed companies. Therefore, it would be worthwhile informing SACMA about the extent of compliance with the guidance of corporate governance. This is essential taking into consideration two facts: first, the recent remarkable growth of the Saudi stock market which was accompanied by significant increase in the demand for additional information by stakeholders; second, the recent increase of the utilisation of the Internet by companies for disclosure purposes worldwide. Further, the results of this research study could add to our limited knowledge about the practice of corporate governance in developing countries.
Originality/value – This paper contributes to the limited literature on disclosure practices in developing countries in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular. Our review of the literature revealed that there is no study to date on online disclosure of corporate governance in Saudi Arabia and very limited research has been carried out in developing countries in general. This is important taking into consideration environmental factors of developing countries, which could bring different sight in the issue of the disclosure of corporate governance.
Hussainey, K. and Al-Nodel, A. (2008), "Corporate governance online reporting by Saudi listed companies", Tsamenyi, M. and Uddin, S. (Ed.) Corporate Governance in Less Developed and Emerging Economies (Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 39-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1479-3563(08)08002-X
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