D.B.A. Baker College (Michigan), 2018.
Specialization: Business administration; Sustainability; Accounting
Exploring corporate social responsibility reporting practices in multinational corporations
180 pages. UMI #: 13425719
Citation, Abstract & Full text in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
Companies experience a problem implementing corporate social responsibility reporting standards due to geographical differences, an over-abundance of guidelines, regulatory disparities, and varying levels of stakeholder requirements. These diverse conditions result in inadequate reporting of sustainability efforts and a lack of consistency of what actually gets reported. This exploratory, qualitative case study was based on a theoretical framework consisting of Freeman’s stakeholder theory, Suchman’s legitimacy theory, and Spence’s signaling theory. The sample consisted of six respondents from a research population of 100 multinational corporations (MNCs) with successful reporting practices. The instrument used was a researcher-developed questionnaire. The study addresses three research questions: How did leadership identify sustainability reporting standards, guidelines, or frameworks that would be appropriate for their company; how did the needs of the company’s stakeholders for reporting differ from the standards selected; and what CSR activities, indicators, or disclosures are not being included in the guideline that the company might want to report based on the needs of the stakeholders? Based on the results, nine themes emerged: (a) External motivational factors and stakeholders are critical to deciding which reporting guideline to use; (b) the CSR reporting method chosen is selected in order to meet the needs of the most influential actors; (c) companies augment reports with self-created KPIs based on influential actors and situational requirements; (d) the CSR reporting process requires greater internal collaboration within an organization; (e) changes to business strategy and resource allocation may be necessary; (f) both external and internal stakeholders are a source of valuable input and feedback regarding the produced reports; (g) collecting material and nonmaterial data is useful in producing reports and improving transparency; (h) companies want to see the impacts of their use competitors’ CSR activities and to use their reports to improve their own CSR activities and reports; and (i) standardization of reporting guidelines would benefit all stakeholders by allowing companies to become more transparent, improve comparisons between companies, and provide incentive to improve CSR processes. This research contributes to the growing body of knowledge on CSR reporting and allows companies to better understand CSR reporting process in their own environments.