Journal of Business Ethics 129 (3):673-688 (2015)

This experimental study extends prior capital market and environmental accounting research by utilizing the theoretical underpinnings of legitimation through impression management, source credibility bias, perceived trust, and ideology in assessing the influence of discretionary environmental accounting narratives on jurors’ punitive damage award assessments. We utilize mock jurors as environmental stakeholders and find that: jurors in a court case involving corporate environmental malfeasance assess lower punitive damage awards against a firm that provides discretionary disclosure on its website regarding future abatement and control narratives, environmental sensitivity of the firm’s industry moderates the negative relationship between the discretionary disclosure and jurors’ punitive damage award assessments, and juror’s perceived trust toward firm management mediates the prior moderation effect. Further, juror political ideology is found to affect the punitive damage award assessments, with liberal jurors levying comparatively higher awards than conservative jurors.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-014-2191-y
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