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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 December 2022

Giuseppe Nicolò, Natalia Aversano, Giuseppe Sannino and Paolo Tartaglia Polcini

The study aims to examine the impact of corporate governance in terms of certain board characteristics on the level of universities’ voluntary sustainability disclosure.

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Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to examine the impact of corporate governance in terms of certain board characteristics on the level of universities’ voluntary sustainability disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis based on a comprehensive disclosure index – that also accounts for the impact that COVID-19 exerted on the social dimension of university activities – is performed on a sample of Italian public universities’ websites for the year 2020. An ordinary least squares regression model is estimated to test the association between universities’ board characteristics, namely, board size, board independence and board gender diversity (including the presence of a female rector), and online sustainability disclosure.

Findings

This study provides evidence that websites represent a valid tool used by universities to highlight their social performance and demonstrate their commitment to dealing with the pandemic’s social and economic disruption by supporting their stakeholders. Board gender diversity and female Rector’s presence are crucial factors that positively impact voluntary sustainability disclosure levels.

Practical implications

Policymakers and regulators can benefit from the study’s findings. Using the results of this study, they may reflect on the need to regulate sustainability reporting in universities. In addition, findings may offer policymakers inspiration for regulating the presence of women on university boards.

Originality/value

This study offers novel contributions to existing literature analysing the university’s voluntary sustainability disclosure practices through alternative communication tools such as websites. Moreover, it provides novel insight into the role of the board gender diversity in university sustainability disclosure practices.

Details

Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 27 December 2022

Giovanni Zampone, Giuseppe Nicolò, Giuseppe Sannino and Serena De Iorio

The study examines the association between board gender diversity and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) disclosure from an international and longitudinal perspective. It also…

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Abstract

Purpose

The study examines the association between board gender diversity and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) disclosure from an international and longitudinal perspective. It also investigates the role of the Sustainability Committee (SC) as a possible factor that can mediate the relationship between board gender diversity and SDG disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors focused on the annual Communication on Progress (CoP) prepared annually by a sample of 526 companies from 39 countries and ten industry sectors along the 2017–2020 period to evaluate the SDG disclosure. Baron and Kenny's (1986) three-step model is estimated to test the impact of the presence of an SC on the SDG disclosure level and the mediating effect exerted by the SC on the relationship between board gender diversity and SDG disclosure.

Findings

Findings shed light on the usefulness of the CoP as an alternative reporting tool to communicate progress against SDGs achievement, especially regarding SDGs 13 and 8. This study evidences that board gender diversity positively influences SDG disclosure. The relationship between board gender diversity and SDG disclosure is not only direct but also mediated by the presence of an SC.

Research limitations/implications

Companies need to consider the role of women in enhancing the effectiveness of their governance mechanisms and their ability to meet stakeholder information needs. Establishing a specific SC represents a valid mechanism that ensures greater transparency about corporate actions tackled to contribute toward SDGs and enhances the relationship between board gender diversity and SDG disclosure among International companies.

Practical implications

The study's findings offer stimuli for policy-makers and regulators to reflect on the relevance of the CoP as a possible alternative communication tool to provide SDGs information and overcome the limitations of the Sustainability Reports.

Originality/value

This is the first study that examines companies' SDG disclosure practices focusing on CoPs. Further, to the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that tests the relationship between gender diversity and SDG disclosure, considering the mediating effect of an SC committee.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 15 July 2021

Giuseppe Nicolò, Giovanni Zampone, Giuseppe Sannino and Serena De Iorio

Recent regulatory changes in Europe have promoted non-financial reporting practices (e.g., Directive, 2014/95/EU) and gender diversity in decision-making positions. Special…

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Abstract

Purpose

Recent regulatory changes in Europe have promoted non-financial reporting practices (e.g., Directive, 2014/95/EU) and gender diversity in decision-making positions. Special attention is devoted to promoting the gender balance on corporate boards as a key mechanism to enhance corporate governance effectiveness and better address multiple stakeholders' needs. With this in mind, this study intends to examine the impact of boardroom gender diversity on Environmental Social Governance (ESG) disclosure practices in the European listed firms' context.

Design/methodology/approach

The study applies different panel data models on an extended sample of 1,392 firms from 21 European Union (EU) countries for six years (2014–2019).

Findings

Findings allow to spotlight the positive role exerted by the presence of women directors on the boards in enhancing ESG disclosure, both at the overall and specific (individual ESG scores) level.

Research limitations/implications

Policymakers and regulators might consider the study's evidence as a stimulus to continue in promoting strategic actions and reforms that foster gender equality and balance in corporate decision-making positions.

Practical implications

Creating a heterogeneous and diversified board of directors may support implementing a “sustainable corporate governance” recently claimed by the EC.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the literature by disentangling the links between gender diversity and ESG disclosure over a period that covers a long season of European regulations and measures that affected both non-financial reporting practices and the board of directors' composition. Accordingly, it can contribute to enhancing the practical and theoretical understanding of the pivotal role that gender diversity may exert in strengthening corporate governance and, in turn, corporate transparency and accountability behaviours about non-financial issues.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 March 2020

Natalia Aversano, Giuseppe Nicolò, Giuseppe Sannino and Paolo Tartaglia Polcini

The present research aims to analyse the extent to which Italian public universities disclose intellectual capital (IC) information through the Integrated Plan and the main…

Abstract

Purpose

The present research aims to analyse the extent to which Italian public universities disclose intellectual capital (IC) information through the Integrated Plan and the main features of IC disclosure (ICD) in terms of form and location in the document.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a qualitative methodology, a content analysis is conducted to examine the level, form and location of ICD provided by a sample of 60 Italian public universities through the 2018-2020 integrated plans.

Findings

The results show a medium level of ICD in the Integrated Plan, with human capital being the category most disclosed. Information is principally provided in a quantitative form and is mainly found in the first two sections of the document (i.e. relating to the strategic framework and organisational performance).

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is necessarily limited to a single period (2018-2020), because of the recent introduction of the guidelines of the Integrated Plan. However, the results may be beneficial to policymakers in determining the usefulness of this new tool in detecting information about intangible resources and can help universities’ governors and managers in defining adequate IC strategies to create value for the whole ecosystem.

Originality/value

The study makes an innovative contribution to the international debate about IC in universities in light of the fourth stage of IC research, exploring an emerging tool to detect whether it is able to convey IC information to the wide range of university stakeholders and to communicate the value universities contribute to society.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

Natalia Aversano, Johan Christiaens, Paolo Tartaglia Polcini and Giuseppe Sannino

Taking into consideration the lively debate about recognition, measurement, and disclosure criteria for heritage assets (HA) in financial reporting, the purpose of this paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

Taking into consideration the lively debate about recognition, measurement, and disclosure criteria for heritage assets (HA) in financial reporting, the purpose of this paper is to examine the comment letters submitted by governmental organizations regarding the consultation paper (CP) on HA in order to understand what is the position of the governmental organizations in relation to critical issues of the accounting and financial reporting of HA.

Design/methodology/approach

From a methodological point of view, a content analysis was performed. First, the responses were classified according to level of agreement with the 13 items included in the CP on HA; second, the arguments adduced by respondents in supporting or contradicting the proposed approaches and definitions have been investigated.

Findings

The majority of responses came from countries with relevant differences in culture, administrative traditions and accounting systems. Governmental organizations strongly agreed with the recognition of heritage items as “assets” in financial reporting, while conflicting positions on measuring bases were identified.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few studies based on the content of the comment letters received in response to the CP on HA. The present study can also give an idea of the content of the future IPSAS on HA. Moreover, it is the first study attempting to enrich the debate on governmental organizations’ participation to the IPSAS standard-setting process.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Gianluca Ginesti, Giuseppe Sannino and Carlo Drago

This study aims to determine the impact of information-sharing disseminated through the firms’ board connections on the readability of the management discussion and analysis…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to determine the impact of information-sharing disseminated through the firms’ board connections on the readability of the management discussion and analysis (MD&A).

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation conducted in this study is performed by using a regression analysis. The readability of the MD&A is measured by the Flesch reading ease. The level of information-sharing is determined by the degree centrality index. The sample is composed of 83 Italian-listed firms that comprise over 4,000 directors for the period 2008-2012.

Findings

The main results of this study show a significant relationship between the degree centrality and MD&A readability, suggesting that board connections play a crucial role in improving the quality of external reporting.

Research limitations/implications

This study uses a limited sample size. Further, we do not isolate the possible effect of other reporting incentives that may affect the readability of external reporting.

Practical implications

This study argues that for a non-English-speaking country such as Italy, information-sharing is a vehicle for improving the quality of external reporting and the competitiveness of firms in international capital markets.

Originality/value

This research offers an original contribution to the existent literature by highlighting the role of the firms’ board connections in determining the level of the corporate disclosure readability. This implies the opportunity for future research to take into account the firms’ board connections when they analyze related phenomena.

Details

Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 April 2018

Gianluca Ginesti, Carlo Drago, Riccardo Macchioni and Giuseppe Sannino

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between the female board participation and the readability of annual report.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between the female board participation and the readability of annual report.

Design/methodology/approach

Using hand-collected data from a “network-oriented market”, as exists in Italy, which includes 435 annual reports, this study uses a regression analysis to test whether female board participation affects the annual report readability.

Findings

Female board participation is found to have a positive impact on disclosure readability in firms with small boardroom connections but the opposite effect in firms with large boardroom connections.

Research limitations/implications

This paper responds to recent calls in the corporate governance literature by investigating whether the female board participation affects the transparency of the disclosure practices.

Practical implications

This study has policy implications, as it helps to improve evaluations of how, and under which circumstances, female board participation may lead to higher disclosure quality and thus benefit investors.

Originality/value

This paper shows that female board participation has different effects on the disclosure readability at different levels of board positions in inter-firm networks.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Giuseppe Nicolò, Natalia Aversano, Giuseppe Sannino and Paolo Tartaglia Polcini

This study aims to analyse the extent and type of online intellectual capital (IC) disclosure provided by a sample of 117 Italian listed companies. The study also seeks to…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyse the extent and type of online intellectual capital (IC) disclosure provided by a sample of 117 Italian listed companies. The study also seeks to identify possible determinants of the extent and type of intellectual capital disclosure (ICD) practiced by Italian listed companies via the Web.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis is conducted to investigate the extent and type of online ICD provided through websites by a sample of 117 Italian listed companies. Two multivariate ordinary least squares regression models are applied to estimate the associations proposed in the research hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that Italian listed companies are exploiting the potential of websites to satisfy the information needs of investors and other stakeholders in relation to strategic IC-based corporate resources, with a particular focus on external capital. For the most part, ICD is conveyed in narrative form. Moreover, while the size and board independence positively affect both the extent and type of ICD, profitability exerts a positive influence only on the extent of online ICD.

Originality/value

Unlike previous ICD studies, which focussed on annual reports, this study explores an emerging and innovative tool to convey ICD, namely, the website. In today’s world, websites are considered to be the most expedient and effective tools for sharing and transmitting information, including IC; they are a vehicle that can shift the IC focus from the organisation to the wider ecosystem.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 March 2020

Giuseppe Sannino, Ferdinando Di Carlo and Manuela Lucchese

This paper aims to investigate and discover the demographic characteristics of corporate leaders (CEOs) in Fintech sector firms representing the implementation of the sustainable…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate and discover the demographic characteristics of corporate leaders (CEOs) in Fintech sector firms representing the implementation of the sustainable business model. Particularly, the purpose is to identify a benchmark profile of CEOs and to understand which are the main features (e.g. age, tenure, education specification, education level, gender, nationality, years of entrepreneurship, years in financial functions, years in IT functions), giving more opportunity to develop and maintain sustainable business models using innovative platforms.

Design/methodology/approach

The research questions are answered through a quali-quantitative methodology using descriptive and statistical approaches. The researchers collected a sample of 100 Fintech firms from the main Fintech firms in 2018 identified by the annual KPMG Report (2019). Thus, the research observed and tested the average level of the major CEO demographic features. Additionally, the paper explored whether these variables have a major probability to affect Fintech leading.

Findings

Assuming a relevant part of Fintech firms, the main results of this paper show the relevance of several CEO demographic characteristics. Additionally, the age, the tenure and the presence of an MBA are significant elements in affecting Leading companies.

Originality/value

The paper is novel because it contributes to the literature examining the internal governance and sustainable business model, still not explored. Moreover, this study contributes to identifying the CEO demographic characteristics that foster financial institutions' transition towards sustainable business models.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 58 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 December 2021

Silvia Ivaldi, Annalisa Sannino and Giuseppe Scaratti

Building on the existing literature and on a series of interviews conducted in very diverse coworking spaces, this article attempts at analyzing coworking by focusing on the…

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Abstract

Purpose

Building on the existing literature and on a series of interviews conducted in very diverse coworking spaces, this article attempts at analyzing coworking by focusing on the historical evolution and heterogeneity of its interpretations, as well as the plurality of its realization in practice and prospective developments.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework adopted is Cultural Historical Activity Theory – a dialectical approach which allows the study of human activities as historically evolving and complex systems which change under the impulse of their inner contradictions. The analysis presented here starts with an overview of the history of the theoretical elaborations and discussions of coworking. The authors then focus on the experiences and interpretations of this phenomenon as conveyed by coworkers and coworking managers in the north of Italy – one of the most active coworking areas in Europe.

Findings

Coworking first emerged as a way of promoting forms of work and organization that require simultaneous, multidirectional, and reciprocal work, as understood in contrast to forms that incorporate an established division of labor, demarcated communities, and formal and informal sets of rules. However, with time, coworking has evolved toward novel directions, giving rise to heterogeneous interpretations of it. Inquiry constitutes a deeper investigation of the heterogeneity of coworking. The take-away message here is that the prefix co- in coworking can be interpreted, through a play of words, to evoke multiple positions and views conveying internal contradictions.

Originality/value

The historical overview of coworking shows a strong differentiation and multisided interpretation of this phenomenon along two dimensions of historical development, namely, social and business, and outward and inward. The qualitative analysis of the interviews traces the different lived interpretations and conceptions of coworking. The analysis confirms, on the one hand, the complexity and heterogeneity described in the literature, and on the other hand, it enriches the literature by depicting the contradictory nature of the phenomenon, including how the historical and inner tensions of coworking are dynamically evolving in the concrete experiences reported by the managers and users in the coworking spaces.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

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