The purpose of this paper is to explore the content of the sustainability reports of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the factors influencing the sustainability information they disclose.
Drawing upon the literature on sustainability disclosure, institutional logics and hybrid organizations, several hypotheses were deduced. By means of a quantitative content analysis, the sustainability disclosure index of 45 Swedish SOEs was calculated. Statistical analyses were conducted to test which variables affected the sustainability disclosures of the selected SOEs.
The findings reveal that only state ownership and corporate size significantly affect SOEs’ sustainability disclosures. Fully state-owned SOEs disclose less sustainability information than partially state-owned SOEs. Large SOEs disclose more sustainability information than small SOEs. However, there are weak indications that having a public policy assignment (PPA) (activity) negatively influences environmental sustainability disclosures, and that having a majority of female directors on the board decreases the total sustainability information disclosed. In addition, the statistical analyses show that having state representatives on the board and being profitable may positively affect the disclosures.
Accountability is particularly important in SOEs, and their complex hybrid nature has an impact on sustainability disclosures in a surprising way. State ownership and control do not necessarily imply an increased amount of sustainability disclosure.
The authors are indebted to Pierre Carbonnier for his assistance on the statistical parts of this study as well as Charl De Villiers, Sumit Lodhia and Amanpreet Kaur for their support on earlier drafts of this paper.
Argento, D., Grossi, G., Persson, K. and Vingren, T. (2019), "Sustainability disclosures of hybrid organizations: Swedish state-owned enterprises", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 505-533. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-07-2018-0362
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