This study aims to reveal the quantity, quality and cultural differences of negative corporate social performance (CSP) disclosures in large firms' corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. Firms are expected to be transparent about the impacts and outcomes of their CSP. A central aspect of transparency is balance, which means disclosing both positive and negative CSP.
Content analysis was applied to 75 CSR reports of large firms chosen from the Forbes Top 500 list. The firms belong to three cultural clusters: Anglo, Confucian Asia and Germanic/Nordic Europe.
Firms made few negative CSP disclosures, yet the quantity of negative CSP disclosures varied among cultural clusters. Reports from Germanic/Nordic Europe showed the highest number of negative CSP disclosures, reports from Confucian Asia showed the lowest number and the Anglo cluster's number fell in between. The Asian firms communicated corrective actions more often than firms from the other clusters.
This study focused on negative CSP disclosures in the CSR reports – not omitting negative CSP. The practice of self-laudatory CSR communication decreases the likelihood that relevant stakeholders will believe what firms report about.
Studies on the quality and quantity of negative disclosures are rare; by examining cultural differences, this study contributes to the limited body of knowledge.
Einwiller, S. and Carroll, C. (2020), "Negative disclosures in corporate social responsibility reporting", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-05-2019-0054Download as .RIS
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