The purpose of this paper is to map corporate disclosure theories as a step towards filling a gap in the theoretical background for corporate disclosure research. The purpose of the map is to encompass a range of particular theories relating to corporate disclosure and to demonstrate the complex relationships between different notions of the financial disclosure phenomenon. This will help new researchers to understand how particular corporate disclosure theories are related, as well as help with teaching accounting theories at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
A deductive and inductive approach to theory building was applied. The deductive approach suggests identifying the gap in the literature, the inductive approach then prescribes theory building in three stages: phenomenon observation, categorisation and relationship building. This approach serves to develop a theoretical map integrating the corporate disclosure theories.
The paper discusses theories that recognise actual features of financial markets – market failure, information asymmetry and adverse selection – to provide an explanation for the existence of corporate reporting regulations and managerial incentives, which control and determine the maximum level of corporate information under these conditions. It then integrates these theories in a map seeking to explain corporate disclosure levels, mandatory and voluntary, financial and narrative. A combination of theoretical supplements – codification theory, Dye's theory of mandatory and voluntary disclosure, and disclosure transformation theory – are proposed in this framework as theories to explain processes of change in mandatory and voluntary corporate disclosure in practice.
Another benefit mapping these theories is to provide useful insights into existing disclosure theories, which may help to explain why some empirical results have been inconsistent with the predictions of these theories. No similar attempts have been published in the accounting literature.
von Alberti‐Alhtaybat, L., Hutaibat, K. and Al‐Htaybat, K. (2012), "Mapping corporate disclosure theories", Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 73-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/19852511211237453
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