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Voluntary corporate social responsibility reporting: a study of early and late reporter motivations and outcomes

Bhimani, Alnoor ORCID: 0000-0002-1884-5840, Silvola, Hanna and Sivabalan, Prabhu (2016) Voluntary corporate social responsibility reporting: a study of early and late reporter motivations and outcomes. Journal of Management Accounting Research, 28 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1049-2127

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Identification Number: 10.2308/jmar-51440


Neo-institutional logics for the early adoption of innovations are often argued as more authentic than for late adopters. To what extent might this be so in relation to corporate social responsibility reporting (CSRR)? We specifically focus on neo-institutionalist perspectives with an emphasis on isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983) to illustrate alternative motivations, and verify our hypotheses using a mixed methods approach (survey data and field evidence from five organizations). We find that the rationale for early reporters entails a financial pragmatism that is absent in current debates surrounding corporate social responsibility (CSR). We also show that normative and coercive isomorphism interplay among early adopters to drive their adoption decision over time, and these facilitate the generation of different strategic postures to placate key external stakeholders. This contrasts with prior studies that have mainly argued for mimetic and normative isomorphism to dominate the decision to implement CSRR amongst adopters. Finally, we argue that late reporters choose not to engage earlier as (ironically) their strategic proximity to the phenomena being reported is intrinsically close, meaning most internal and external stakeholders assume the proper functioning of the phenomena being reported, and therefore do not demand it. This rationale for mimetic isomorphism is unique and its narrative more positive than that normally ascribed to it in the prior literature. Firms are subsequently less inclined to opportunistically validate or signal their sustainability ethos using formal reporting systems, and only do so superficially to engage in practices

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 American Accounting Association
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2016 15:42
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2023 00:13
Funders: Paulo Foundation, Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Marcus Wallenberg Foundation

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