Towards a Model for Measuring Prominence of Web-based Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures

Chong, S
Ali, I
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Purpose The purpose of the paper is to explore whether industry affiliation still has a significant impact on the prominence of web-based CSR disclosures given the potential benefits for all companies to use the internet as a channel for stakeholder communication.

Design/methodology/approach To measure the prominence of web-based CSR disclosures, a four-dimensional model is constructed using the locations, sources, accessibility and extent of CSR disclosures. The sample for the study were 65 companies listed on the NZX with market capitalisation of over NZD 150 million.

Findings The findings of the paper show, firstly, that listed companies in New Zealand are utilising their websites for communicating CSR information to stakeholders, regardless of their industry affiliation and the size of their market capitalisation. However, industry affiliation still has a significant impact on the prominence of web-based CSR disclosures in New Zealand, with ‘sensitive’ industries namely mining & construction, energy and transport industries, registering above average score for all four dimensions of the prominence measurement. Interestingly, several ‘less sensitive’ industries such as the financial services, and media & telecommunications, are found to demonstrate growing emphasis by making their CSR disclosures more prominent via their corporate websites.

Practical implications Companies need to recognise that web-based CSR disclosures are increasingly becoming not only an important method for companies to communicate with their stakeholders, but also a significant platform for them to strategically manage their image and identity.

Originality/value The paper complements earlier descriptive studies on CSR disclosures by constructing a model to measure prominence of web-based CSR disclosures.

In Proceedings of Auckland Regional Accounting 2015 Annual Conference. Auckland, New Zealand.
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