This paper aims to examine changes of non-financial voluntary reporting practices over time in response to episodes of employee-related distress. It investigates…
This paper aims to examine changes of non-financial voluntary reporting practices over time in response to episodes of employee-related distress. It investigates employee-related disclosures by the four largest electronic manufacturing services firms in China between 2008 and 2013 during a series of employment-related incidents, to investigate how the firms re-legitimate their reputation in response to the media coverage on those incidents.
A series of employee-related incidents that occurred in 2010-2012 is selected as the focus of this study, with total coverage of employee-related disclosures between 2008 and 2013. These incidents are directly linked to three of the four sample companies: Foxconn, Pegatron and Compal Electronics. Employee-related disclosures in corporate social responsibility (CSR) stand-alone reports are coded by a set of specifically designed instructions, and newspaper articles about employee-related incidents are coded for sentiment. Results are interpreted through two theoretical lenses: the media agenda setting theory and the legitimacy theory.
Newspapers reported the employee-related incidents in a way detrimental to the legitimacy of firms that directly involved in the selected industry. In the process of legitimation, firms switch between disclosing more employee-related information and reducing disclosures. The self-expectation on organizational legitimacy also affects how CSR reporting is used in legitimation. The employee-related disclosure analysed is closer to symbolic legitimation than substantive legitimation.
This study contributes to reporting practice by showing that employee-related disclosure is largely vacuous and to a greater extent is used as symbolic legitimation. The quality of disclosure requires significant improvement. This study contributes to the literature by using the legitimacy theory to interpret employee-related disclosure in China, addressing inadequate research efforts in the context of social and human rights dimensions of CSR reporting.
This study aims to understand the organisational benefits of carbon-focussed management control systems (carbon MCS) under a regulatory context.
The authors conduct a survey of 85 New Zealand (NZ) organisations covering different industries, sizes and compliance obligations.
The results suggest a significant direct positive impact of carbon MCS on organisations’ non-financial benefits and an indirect impact on financial benefits via non-financial benefits. The impact on non-financial benefits is strongest when a whole carbon MCS package is used rather than individual carbon controls. However, the highest impact on financial benefits are attained when only diagnostic controls are used rather than other controls or the whole MCS package. Firms in primary, manufacturing and energy sectors and those with export activities are less likely to achieve organisational benefits, while those with a compliance obligation under the emissions trading scheme are more likely to perceive such benefits.
The study has a limited sample size (85 firms), a unique context (NZ) and coves only large firms. Further, there are no objective performance measures to validate survey responses regarding organisational benefits.
The findings provide a business case for managers and practitioners in formulating their strategic and MCS responses to climate change issues.
The authors focus on carbon MCS and adopt a wider range of carbon MCS levers than previous research. The authors discern not only non-financial benefits but also financial benefits from MCS use.