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Online transparency and corporate governance in Spanish governmental agencies

Vicente Pina (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Lourdes Torres (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 25 July 2019

Issue publication date: 30 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Online transparency has become a tool to increase legitimacy and trust in governments. The purpose of this paper is to study the online transparency of Spanish Central Government agencies and analyze whether their corporate governance (CG) structures influence their online transparency.

Design/methodology/approach

The information used for building an online transparency index and about the board of directors has been collected from the websites of the 168 agencies and from their statutes and activity reports. Ordinary least squares analysis is used. Based on a previous literature review and the requirements of the EU Directive and Spanish legislation, 108 items included in the websites have been analyzed.

Findings

The average information displayed through the website agencies is significantly less than the information considered as relevant in previous literature and in the Spanish legislation. The highest values are presented by the technical dimensions and the lowest by the organizational/political dimension. The presence of independent directors and women on the boards of directors are revealed as the most important explanatory factors of online transparency.

Practical implications

Practical implications to improve online transparency are related to the organizational/political dimension – including the positions and CVs of members of governing bodies, minutes, etc. and to the presence of independent directors and, to a lesser extent, of women, on the board of directors.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper is the identification of some online transparency determinants in public entities under the same general legal framework. This is the first paper that analyzes the relationship between online transparency and CG in public agencies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper has been elaborated with the financial support of the Spanish Central Government project ECO2015-66240-P and the Government of Aragon project S56-17R FEDER Funds.

Citation

Pina, V. and Torres, L. (2019), "Online transparency and corporate governance in Spanish governmental agencies", Online Information Review, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 653-675. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-03-2018-0102

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited