David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 84 (4):497 - 527 (2009)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dramatically expanding area of activity for managers and academics. Consumer demand for responsibly produced and fair trade goods is swelling, resulting in increased demands for CSR activity and information. Assets under professional management and invested with a social responsibility focus have also grown dramatically over the last 10 years. Investors choosing social responsibility investment strategies require access to information not provided through traditional financial statements and analyses. At the same time, a group of mainstream institutional investors has encouraged a movement to incorporate environmental, social, and governance information into equity analysis, and multi-stakeholder groups have supported enhanced business reporting on these issues. The majority of research in this area has been performed on European and Australian firms. We expand on this literature by exploring the CSR disclosure practices of a size-and industry-stratified sample of 50 publicly traded U. S. firms, performing a content analysis on the complete identifiable public information portfolio provided by these firms during 2004. CSR activity was disclosed by most firms in the sample, and was included in nearly half of public disclosures made during that year by the sample firms. Areas of particular emphasis are community matters, health and safety, diversity and human resources (HR) matters, and environmental programs. The primary venues of disclosure are mass media releases such as corporate websites and press releases, followed closely by disclosures contained in mandatory filings. Consistent with prior research, we identify industry effects in terms of content, emphasis, and reporting format choices. Unlike prior research, we can offer only mixed evidence on the existence of a size effect. The disclosure frequency and emphasis is significantly different for the largest one-fifth of the firms, but no identifiable trends are present within the rest of the sample. There are, however, identifiable size effects with respect to reporting format choice. Use of websites is positively related to firm size, while the use of mandatory filings is negatively related to firm size. Finally, and also consistent with prior literature, we document a generally self-laudatory tone in the content of CSR disclosures for the sample firms.
|Keywords||corporate disclosure non-financial information corporate social responsibility reporting content analysis|
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References found in this work BETA
Reggy Hooghiemstra (2000). Corporate Communication and Impression Management – New Perspectives Why Companies Engage in Corporate Social Reporting. Journal of Business Ethics 27 (1-2):55 - 68.
Dilek Cetindamar (2007). Corporate Social Responsibility Practices and Environmentally Responsible Behavior: The Case of the United Nations Global Compact. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 76 (2):163 - 176.
John M. T. Balmer, Kyoko Fukukawa & Edmund R. Gray (2007). The Nature and Management of Ethical Corporate Identity: A Commentary on Corporate Identity, Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 76 (1):7 - 15.
Ron Bird, Anthony D. Hall, Francesco Momentè & Francesco Reggiani (2007). What Corporate Social Responsibility Activities Are Valued by the Market? Journal of Business Ethics 76 (2):189 - 206.
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Citations of this work BETA
Friederike Schultz, Itziar Castelló & Mette Morsing (2013). The Construction of Corporate Social Responsibility in Network Societies: A Communication View. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 115 (4):681-692.
Mohammad Issam Jizi, Aly Salama, Robert Dixon & Rebecca Stratling (2013). Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure: Evidence From the US Banking Sector. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 125 (4):1-15.
Rüdiger Hahn & Regina Lülfs (2013). Legitimizing Negative Aspects in GRI-Oriented Sustainability Reporting: A Qualitative Analysis of Corporate Disclosure Strategies. Journal of Business Ethics 123 (3):1-20.
Colin Higgins, Markus J. Milne & Bernadine van Gramberg (2015). The Uptake of Sustainability Reporting in Australia. Journal of Business Ethics 129 (2):445-468.
Rafael Bravo, Jorge Matute & José M. Pina (2012). Corporate Social Responsibility as a Vehicle to Reveal the Corporate Identity: A Study Focused on the Websites of Spanish Financial Entities. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 107 (2):129-146.
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