An exploration of the association between global expectations regarding corporate behaviour and corporate social disclosure practices of multinational organisations from culturally diverse countries

Newson, Marc John (2002). An exploration of the association between global expectations regarding corporate behaviour and corporate social disclosure practices of multinational organisations from culturally diverse countries. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e7fd

Abstract

This thesis explores the social disclosure policies of large multinational organisations from culturally diverse countries. Arguments are advanced about why large multinational organisations will respond to 'global expectations', rather than simply the expectations of those people residing in the corporations' 'home' country. It is proposed that social disclosure is a reaction (or anticipation) by management to the perceived social and political environment, and that some organisations are more 'exposed' than others. It is also proposed that voluntary social disclosure is a function of country culture, but that large multinational organisations from culturally diverse countries, operating in a global market, are susceptible to borrowing a 'global culture'.

Disclosure against 'global expectations' by large multinational organisations from culturally diverse countries is predicted to be a function of 'global exposure'. To determine global expectations, reliance is placed on two large international surveys conducted in 1998 and 1999. Five proxies for 'global exposure' are developed and tested relating to size, industry and stock exchange listings.

The results of analysis indicate minimal alignment between global expectations, as represented by the two surveys, and the social disclosure policies of large multinational organisations. Initial results of multiple regression indicate that 'foreign listing status' is very highly significant in explaining minimal disclosure against global expectations, but this is no longer true when a control variable for 'country of origin' is added. Social disclosure practices overall, appear to be a reaction to the perceived social and political environment in the country at the time of reporting, with certain voluntary disclosures explained by recent regulatory intervention or Government initiatives. Political economy theory is adopted to explain the lack of disclosure against global expectations, and legitimacy theory is adopted to explain disclosure practices within countries overall.

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