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Hide-and-seek in corporate disclosure: evidence from negative corporate incidents

Bradley Rudkin (Reckitt Benckiser, Hull, UK)
Danson Kimani (Buckingham Business School, University of Buckingham, Buckingham, UK)
Subhan Ullah (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Hull, Hull, UK)
Rizwan Ahmed (School of Economics Finance and Accounting, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Syed Umar Farooq (University of Hull, Hull, UK)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 5 October 2018

Issue publication date: 4 February 2019




This paper investigates the legitimacy tactics used in the annual reports of UK listed companies in the aftermath of major corporate scandals.


We carried out a content analysis of annual reports of 19 companies that have been involved in corporate scandals with a view to understand how firms communicate negative scandals affecting them.


The findings reveal that firms use a wide range of legitimisation strategies in the manner that contribute to shape disclosure communications concerning negative incidents. For instance, some firms may offset the negativity linked to an incident by rendering such explanations amidst positive information.


Contrary to earlier studies conducted on accounting scandals, the authors incorporated extensive corporate scandals such as human rights violations, controversies concerning child labour, environmental scandals, corruption, financial embezzlement and tax evasion.



Rudkin, B., Kimani, D., Ullah, S., Ahmed, R. and Farooq, S.U. (2019), "Hide-and-seek in corporate disclosure: evidence from negative corporate incidents", Corporate Governance, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 158-175.



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