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Towards corporate transparency: The link between inclusion in a socially responsible investment index and investor relations practices

Leana Esterhuyse (College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Article publication date: 22 October 2019

Issue publication date: 7 November 2019




The purpose of this paper is to determine whether companies recognised for the quality of their sustainability reporting are also adopting investor relations (IR) best practices for their IR webpages. Quality communications to all stakeholder groups may then speak to organisational transparency and integrated corporate communication management (CCM).


An ordinary least squares regression model was developed to test the hypothesis that companies with quality sustainability reporting also adopts best practices in online IR. Sustainability reporting quality was signalled by inclusion of the company in a socially responsible investment (SRI) index. IR quality was proxied by disclosure scores compiled from content analyses of investor relations webpages.


This study find that inclusion in the SRI Index was positively and significantly associated with online IR quality, while controlling for other variables associated with voluntary disclosure behaviour.

Practical implications

For retail and institutional investors in SRI Index companies, cost of information discovery is reduced as they can use the investor relations webpages as comprehensive source.


This study contributes to the literature on corporate transparency by operationalising reporting “transparency” in that it considers the combined communications output to both financial and non-financial stakeholder groupings. A 2 × 2 conceptual framework for corporate disclosures is proposed that reconciles legitimacy theory and voluntary disclosure theory as motivations. It also contributes to the paucity of research on the links between public relations and investor relations in corporate communications by demonstrating a joint contribution to transparency.



Esterhuyse, L. (2020), "Towards corporate transparency: The link between inclusion in a socially responsible investment index and investor relations practices", The Bottom Line, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 290-307.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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