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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Kathyayini Rao and Carol Tilt

This paper aims to examine the relationship between corporate governance, in particular board diversity, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting among the top…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the relationship between corporate governance, in particular board diversity, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting among the top 150 listed companies in Australia over a three-year period.

Design/methodology/approach

The quantitative analysis involving a longitudinal study is used where content analysis is undertaken to analyse the extent of CSR disclosures in annual reports. Regression analysis using panel data is used to analyse the potential association between CSR disclosure and five important board diversity measures, specifically independence, tenure, gender, multiple directorships and overall diversity measure.

Findings

The results based on the regression analysis reveal that three of the board diversity attributes (gender, tenure and multiple directorships) and the overall diversity measure have the potential to influence CSR reporting. The relationship between independent/non-executive directors and CSR disclosure however is unclear. In addition, three of the control variables (firm size, industry and CEO duality) are found to have some influence on CSR disclosure, whereas board size and profitability are found to be insignificant. The results also indicate the existence of some possible interaction effects between gender and multiple directorships.

Originality/value

The paper has implications for companies, for policymakers and for the professional development needs of board members. Australian companies should consider identifying board attributes that enhance CSR disclosures, as it has been shown in previous studies that CSR disclosure in Australia is low when compared to other developed countries. Moreover, given that there is such limited research linking board diversity and CSR disclosure, the results of this paper provide scope for further research. Moreover the paper contributes to the existing literature on board composition and CSR disclosure by extending the literature to board diversity and provides preliminary evidence of the influence of board diversity on CSR disclosure in Australia.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 25 September 2019

Sanjaya C. Kuruppu, Markus J. Milne and Carol A. Tilt

The purpose of this paper is to examine how legitimacy is gained, maintained or repaired through direct action with salient stakeholders and/or through external reporting…

6270

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how legitimacy is gained, maintained or repaired through direct action with salient stakeholders and/or through external reporting, by using a number of empirical case vignettes within a single case study organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study investigates a foreign affiliate of a large multinational organisation involved in an environmentally sensitive industry. Data collection included semi-structured interviews with 26 participants, organisational reports and participation in the organisation’s annual environmental management seminar and a stakeholder engagement meeting.

Findings

Four vignettes featuring environmental issues illustrate the complexity of organisational responses. Issue visibility, stakeholder salience and stakeholder interconnectedness influence a company’s action to manage legitimacy. In the short-term, environmental issues which affected salient stakeholders resulted in swift and direct action to protect pragmatic legitimacy, but external reporting did not feature in legitimacy management efforts. Highly visible issues to the public, regulators and the media, however, resulted in direct action together with external reporting to manage wider stakeholder perceptions. External reporting was used superficially, along with a broad suite of communication strategies, to gain legitimacy in the long-term decision about the company’s future in New Zealand.

Research limitations/implications

This paper outlines how episodic encounters to manage strategic legitimacy with salient stakeholders in the short-term are theoretically distinct, but nonetheless linked to continual efforts to maintain institutional legitimacy. Case vignettes highlight how pragmatic legitimacy via dispositional legitimacy can be managed with direct action in the short-term to influence a limited range of salient stakeholders. The way external reporting features in legitimacy management is limited, although this has predominantly been the focus of prior research. Only where an environmental incident damages legitimacy to a larger number of stakeholders is external reporting also used to buttress community support.

Originality/value

The concept of legitimacy is comprehensively applied, linking the strategic and institutional arms of legitimacy and illustrating how episodic actions are taken to manage legitimacy in the short-term with continual efforts to manage legitimacy in the long-term. Stakeholder salience and networks are brought in as novel theoretical extensions to provide a deeper understanding of the interrelationships between these key concepts with a unique case study.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 September 2020

Carol A. Tilt, Wei Qian, Sanjaya Kuruppu and Dinithi Dissanayake

Developing countries experience their own social, political and environmental issues, but surprisingly limited papers have examined sustainability reporting in these…

1034

Abstract

Purpose

Developing countries experience their own social, political and environmental issues, but surprisingly limited papers have examined sustainability reporting in these regions, notably in sub-Saharan Africa. To fill this gap and understand the state of sustainability reporting in sub-Saharan Africa, this paper aims to investigate the current state of reporting, identifies the major motivations and barriers for reporting and suggests an agenda of future issues that need to be considered by firms, policymakers and academics.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper includes analysis of reporting practices in 48 sub-Saharan African countries using the lens of New Institutional Economics. It comprises three phases of data collection and analysis: presentation of overall reporting data collected and provided by Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). analysis of stand-alone sustainability reports using qualitative data analysis and interviews with key report producers.

Findings

The analysis identifies key issues that companies in selected sub-Saharan African countries are grappling within their contexts. There are significant barriers to reporting but institutional mechanisms, such as voluntary reporting frameworks, provide an important bridge between embedding informal norms and changes to regulatory requirements. These are important for the development of better governance and accountability mechanisms.

Research limitations/implications

Findings have important implications for policymakers and institutions such as GRI in terms of regulation, outreach and localised training. More broadly, global bodies such as GRI and IIRC in a developing country context may require more local knowledge and support. Limitations include limited data availability, particularly for interviews, which means that these results are preliminary and provide a basis for further work.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper contribute to the knowledge of sustainability reporting in this region, and provide some policy implications for firms, governments and regulators.

Originality/value

This paper is one of only a handful looking at the emerging phenomenon of sustainability reporting in sub-Saharan African countries.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 September 2021

Dinithi Dissanayake, Carol A. Tilt and Wei Qian

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainability reporting is shaped by the global influences and particular national context where businesses operate.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainability reporting is shaped by the global influences and particular national context where businesses operate.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses both content analysis of published sustainability information and semi-structured interviews with corporate managers to explore how sustainability reporting is used to address unique social and environmental challenges in a developing country – Sri Lanka. The use of integrative social contracts theory in investigating sustainability reporting offers novel insights into understanding the drivers for sustainability reporting practices in this particular country.

Findings

The findings reveal that managers’ perceptions about usefulness of sustainability reporting, local contextual challenges and global norms influence the extent to which companies engage in sustainability reporting and the nature of sustainability information reported. In particular, Sri Lankan company managers strive to undertake sustainability projects that are beneficial not only to their companies but also to the development of the country. However, while company managers in Sri Lanka are keen to undertake sustainability reporting, they face different tensions/expectations between global expectations and local contextual factors when undertaking sustainability projects and reporting. This is also showcased in what is ultimately reported in company annual reports, where some aspects of sustainability, e.g. social, tend to focus more on addressing local concerns whereas other disclosures are on issues that may be relevant across many contexts.

Research limitations/implications

Important insights for government and other regulatory authorities can be drawn from the findings of this study. By capitalising on the strong sense of moral duty felt by company managers, policymakers can involve the business sector more to mitigate the social and environmental issues prevalent in Sri Lanka. The findings can also be used by other developing countries to enable pathways to engage with the corporate sector to contribute to national development agendas through their sustainability initiatives and projects.

Originality/value

While the usual understanding of developing country’s company managers is that they try to follow global trends, in Sri Lanka, this research shows how managers are trying to align their responsibilities at a national level with global principles regarding sustainability reporting. Therefore, this paper highlights how both hypernorms and microsocial rules can interact to define how company managers undertake sustainability reporting in a developing country.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 18 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Kathyayini Kathy Rao, Carol A. Tilt and Laurence H. Lester

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between environmental reporting and corporate governance attributes of companies in Australia.

6907

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between environmental reporting and corporate governance attributes of companies in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a quantitative analysis approach. It examines the 2008 annual reports of the largest 100 Australian firms listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) to determine the amount of environmental reporting – these data are compared with various corporate governance measures.

Findings

Analysis found a significant positive relationship between the extent of environmental reporting and the proportions of independent and female directors on a board. The analysis did not, however, support a negative relationship between the extent of environmental reporting and institutional investors and board size as has been previously predicted, rather, it showed a positive relationship.

Originality/value

This paper offers insights to both regulators and company strategists. Regulators such as the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) could consider expanding its Corporate Governance Council guidelines to include consideration of the environment, which is increasingly considered to be an important aspect of corporate social responsibility, and one of the responsibilities of the board of directors. In addition, for companies which include a commitment to the environment in their mission and strategies, it suggests consideration of the impact of board structure and composition is important as both of these are shown to have a significant effect on the amount of environmental information disclosed by companies.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 January 2010

Matthew V. Tilling and Carol A. Tilt

The purpose of this paper is to examine the voluntary social and environmental disclosures made in the annual reports of Rothmans Ltd between the years of 1955 and 1999…

7367

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the voluntary social and environmental disclosures made in the annual reports of Rothmans Ltd between the years of 1955 and 1999. The first part of the paper focuses on defining legitimacy theory as it has been used in accounting research, extending the current model of legitimacy that predominates, and discussing the potential of a resource‐based approach to testing the theory.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative and quantitative approach to analysing annual report disclosures is presented, and this is one of the few studies to operationalise the variables under study as measures of resource flows.

Findings

The paper considers legitimacy theory in light of disclosures made by Rothmans. An initial analysis provides qualitative examples of expected attempts to legitimatise the corporation given the threat posed by the smoking and health debate. Further analysis conducted using a quantitative measure of resource flows controlled by one stakeholder group, contradicts those expected when compared with previous studies, and as a result of this an alternative conceptualisation of legitimacy theory is proposed.

Research limitations/implications

The paper considers one company in one industry and provides evidence from limited stakeholders groups. The results have implications for further research on social and environmental reporting that use a legitimacy framework.

Originality/value

The paper provides one of the few studies to attempt to measure resource flows in order to proxy stakeholder influence on reporting. This therefore provides an alternative to the more common measures of legitimacy used in previous studies. These have predominantly been based on researcher judgement of the categorised text to determine whether they fit certain “legitimacy” criteria.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Anne R. Canny

The purpose of this paper is a quantitative exploration of the annual report disclosure of contributions by Australian corporations to the relief appeal following the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is a quantitative exploration of the annual report disclosure of contributions by Australian corporations to the relief appeal following the South-East Asian tsunami of 26 December 2004.

Design/methodology/approach

Hypotheses are developed from legitimacy and media agenda setting perspectives, predicting relationships between financial characteristics of the corporations and of their contributions with respect to presence and volume of content and extent of disclosure of cash amounts. The effect of public awareness of contributions on disclosure variables is also examined. Hypotheses not supported are re-examined from an agency perspective.

Findings

Most correlations, such as company size and volume of content, are found to be consistent with a legitimacy perspective, while those not supported, such as company profit disclosure of cash amounts, can readily be explained from an accountability perspective. Overall, the results indicate a strong relationship between public awareness of the contributions and disclosing behaviour. Size of company and profit were related to some aspects of disclosure, while no relationship was detected between the size of the cash donation and disclosing behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have important implications for studies of the way in which corporations communicate with their shareholders and other stakeholders when conflicting interests exist and when media exposure has been positive. The results cannot be extrapolated to situations beyond the Tsunami Appeal.

Originality/value

Empirical research into the disclosure of corporate philanthropy by Australian corporations. Consideration of appropriate theoretical frameworks for study of corporate philanthropy disclosure.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 April 2021

Wei Qian, Carol Tilt and Ataur Belal

The purpose of this paper is to review most recent developments of social and environmental accounting (SEA) in the context of developing countries and to offer insights…

1759

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review most recent developments of social and environmental accounting (SEA) in the context of developing countries and to offer insights for the latest research in this field. It also provides an introduction to the AAAJ special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have undertaken a conceptual overview of the field developed in the past two decades (2001–2020) with a view to identify major themes, trends and future research directions.

Findings

The overview reveals that only 43 SEA papers addressing contextual challenges of developing countries have been published in leading accounting journals in the last 20 years. The coverage of these publications is concentrated in a small number of countries and regions. Interdisciplinary accounting journals, especially AAAJ, are the main publishing outlets in this field. The topic areas are dominated by social accounting challenges, with much less focus on environmental accounting, although developing countries are particularly exposed to the threats of climate change, water pollution and biodiversity loss. The literature reviewed uses elaborating, problematising and theorising contexts as three main contextualisation approaches to analyse contextual themes framed around regulatory, political, cultural and religious, and social-economic systems. Although various conceptual lenses have been adopted in the developing country SEA literature, the use of institutional theory and its various extensions to address political and cultural complexities seems to become more prominent, as shown in most of the contributions included in this special issue.

Research limitations/implications

This review is limited to leading accounting journals. SEA research increasingly published in other disciplines such as in management, social and environmental areas might provide a more comprehensive view in this research field.

Originality/value

In this paper, inter alia, the authors review and synthesise the previous literature in a conceptual framework, illustrating and highlighting the importance of contextual framing of SEA in developing countries. Based on this review, the authors propose some ideas for a future research agenda aiming to advance the field. The authors expect this paper and the special issue to act as a reference point for emerging SEA researchers from developing countries to raise more scholarly impactful enquiries in this area.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 July 2020

Kathyayini Kathy Rao and Carol Tilt

Within the board diversity literature, the issue of gender diversity has been extensively studied, however, limited research has examined whether gender diversity at board…

Abstract

Purpose

Within the board diversity literature, the issue of gender diversity has been extensively studied, however, limited research has examined whether gender diversity at board level has any influence on corporate social responsibility (CSR) decisions. This paper aims to fill this knowledge gap and shed light on whether, and how, gender diversity influences CSR related decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 13 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with board members of Australian companies to examine their perceptions of the effect of gender diversity.

Findings

Although the findings show evidence that there is a general perception that gender diversity has the potential to influence board level decisions, this does not appear to translate to CSR decisions specifically. The results from the interviews identified that several issues and moderating factors interact with the gender-CSR relationship.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes significantly to the body of knowledge by going beyond the plethora of quantitative analyses. The results suggest that there is much work to be done to improve governance policy and mechanisms if boards are to see the potential for gender to have a positive impact on CSR decision-making.

Originality/value

The study responds to calls for more research adopting qualitative studies, including interviews and case studies, to understand the complex interactions that take place during board decision-making. The findings provide useful insights for future research, practise and policymakers.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

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