MANAGERS’ PERCEPTIONS ON STAKEHOLDER AND PURPOSE OF RESPONSE TOWARDS CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL DISCLOSURE IN SRI LANKA: LEGITIMACY AND STAKEHOLDER THEORIES PERSPECTIVE
The objective of this paper is to examine how managers’ perceptions regarding stakeholders’ value and purpose of response relate to companies’ environmental disclosure. The study employed legitimacy and stakeholder theories as the basis for explaining environmental reporting practices. Of 134 environmental disclosing public companies, 99 (74%) companies were selected by using proportionate stratified random sampling by business sectors. The questionnaire was addressed to the executives responsible for the environmental management and reporting for enquiring about important stakeholder via three dimensions of power, legitimacy and urgency and purpose of response through the lens of gain maintain and repair legitimacy. Representing 84%, responses from these managers were then contrasted with companies’ quality of environmental disclosure, which was measured by using Clarkson et al.’s (2008) environmental disclosure index that was prepared based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines as well as quantity of environmental disclosure, which was measured using number of sentences. Descriptive statistics, correlation and regression were used to analyze the collected data. Findings of the study show that there are moderate associations between the managers’ perception on various stakeholders and purpose of response. Most important stakeholders are government, shareholders, and environmentalists while least important stakeholders are competitor and supplier in the decision to disclose environmental information. Further, results reveal that the core purpose of disclosing environmental information by companies is maintaining legitimacy than gaining or repairing legitimacy. Management is also motivated by level of companies’ income for disclosing environmental information. Around 27% and 23% of variation in dependent variables quality as well as quantity of environmental disclosures could be explained by encompassing all independent variables. It is concluded that managerial perception on various stakeholders regarding environmental performance is reflected on companies’ environmental disclosure for maintaining legitimacy and achieving social recognition. The results of the study would enable the companies, regulators and other stake holders for planning their environmental performance and disclosure in order to achieve sustainable development.
Keywords: environmental disclosure, GRI, legitimacy theory, stakeholder theory
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Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce