Social and Environmental Reporting and the Co-creation of Corporate Legitimacy

  • Asit Bhattacharyya Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle
  • Frank Wogbe Agbola Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle
Keywords: Legitimacy Theory, Annual Report, Social Disclosure, Environmental Disclosure


This paper extends the legitimacy theory by empirically investigating the extent and context of social, environmental and total voluntary non-financial disclosures across industries. The study uses 312 annual reports of publicly listed Indian companies for the accounting years 2006, 2012 and 2014. We follow a Multivariate Ordinary Least Squares (MOLS) modelling framework to test the hypotheses. Our empirical results indicate that the decision to provide voluntary non-financial disclosure is positively related to a firm’s age, profitability, industrial category and leverage. Our results further indicate that, contrary to legitimacy theory, the decision to provide social and environmental non-financial disclosures by sampled publicly listed companies is found to correlate negatively with consumer proximity, leverage and industrial transport industry membership. Our results add new empirical evidence to support the view that non-financial disclosure by companies is influenced by country-specific characteristics within which the firm operates. Future research could extend the study to other emerging countries and include data from unlisted companies to validate our findings. To cite this document: Asit Bhattacharyya and Frank Wogbe Agbola, "Social and Environmental Reporting and the Co-creation of Corporate Legitimacy", Contemporary Management Research, Vol.14, No.3, pp. 191-223, 2018. Permanent link to this document:
Accounting and Finance