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Online sustainability information in European local governments: An explicative model to improve transparency

Pilar Tirado-Valencia (Department of Financial Economics and Accounting, Loyola Andalucía University, Córdoba, Spain)
Mª Luisa Rodero-Cosano (Department of Quantitative Methods, Loyola Andalucía University, Córdoba, Spain)
Mercedes Ruiz-Lozano (Department of Financial Economics and Accounting, Loyola Andalucía University, Córdoba, Spain)
Araceli Rios-Berjillos (Department of Business Organization, Loyola Andalucía University, Córdoba, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 13 June 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an analytical model that shows causal relationships between the amount and nature of information on strategies and the governance of city councils, as well as the contents of different dimensions of sustainability that are disclosed on the websites of local governments in big European cities. This model could reveal if the information is disseminated in a homogeneous and coordinated way and could improve the quality of the information, its coherence and its comparability.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have designed a questionnaire with 75 variables from the Global Reporting Initiative proposal to specify information disclosed on sustainability. The level of information about each of these variables has been gathered by consulting the contents published on the websites of the 142 local governments in the sample. Finally the authors propose a model about the cause-effect relationships between the amount and nature of the information in different dimensions of sustainability on the websites of large cities’ local governments based on the structural equation modelling methodology.

Findings

The model obtained reveals that there is coherence in the sustainability information disclosed by large European cities on their websites. However, it is demonstrated that the relations between the amount of information about strategies and the dissemination of information on each of the dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) do not have the same intensity.

Originality/value

The proposed model can be useful as a reference framework to structure online information supplied in a balanced and comprehensive way. This conceptual model can suggest ways for sustainable improvements based on the experience of analysed local governments.

Keywords

Citation

Tirado-Valencia, P., Rodero-Cosano, M.L., Ruiz-Lozano, M. and Rios-Berjillos, A. (2016), "Online sustainability information in European local governments: An explicative model to improve transparency", Online Information Review, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 400-415. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-05-2015-0155

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited