Corporate Community Involvement Disclosure: An Evaluation of the Motivation & Reality
This study focused on Corporate Community Involvement Disclosures (CCID), a theme usually disclosed under Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures (CSRD) in annual reports. The primary aim of the research is to investigate the genuineness and raison d'être of CCID in annual reports. To do this the researcher adopted a holistic approach employing an extensive theoretical framework, which integrates Legitimacy, Stakeholder, Agency, Signalling and Semiotics theories and asking three main research questions. Firstly, what are the motivations for CCID in annual reports? Secondly, what is the information content of CCID in annual reports? And lastly, how real is CCID in annual reports? That is can CCID be read and construed as a real measure of corporate community development (CCD)? Using content analysis and a quality score index the study examined a panel dataset covering the period from 1999 to 2009. The data was collected from a sample of 803 annual reports of 73 UK companies taken from the FTSE 350 companies and cutting across all ten industries of the Industrial Classification Benchmark (ICB) Index. Generally the study is more of a quantitative study with hypotheses developed and tested with panel data regression models in order to provide answers to the three research questions. However, due to the sensitivity of the third research question, in addition to panel regression, the researcher performed a qualitative analysis of question three using semiotics. The study provided evidence to show that CCID as disclosed in annual reports have an undertone of reputation/impression management like other CSR disclosures (CSRD). The community activities reported do not seem to address the expectations of the local communities per se; rather the disclosures seemed to be targeted at a wider stakeholder group that is likely to offer immediate reward for such disclosures. Similarly result from semiotic analysis revealed that signification of reality is either doubtful or unreal for most companies sampled. The study is unique as it is the first to explore the reality of CCID as it appears in annual reports using a combination of a panel study approach and semiotics. In addition a major contribution of the study is that it explored the ways in which multiple theoretical underpinnings can inform research by developing a CCID Meta-theory model and thus provided a robust and enriched analysis and unique insights into the CCID phenomenon.
- PhD 
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