Corporate social responsibility communication of italian listed companies: an empirical analysis

Author/s Brunella Arru
Publishing Year 2015 Issue 2015/4
Language Italian Pages 32 P. 15-46 File size 154 KB
DOI 10.3280/MC2015-004002
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting has become an increasingly relevant topic in business, academia and government. This increasing interest has recently turned particular attention to the way used by companies to communicate their CSR activities. The purpose of the study was explored sustainability reporting of major Italian companies. First, we provided a review of the available literature on the main contributions of CSR communication to explain the reasons that push companies to make voluntary disclosure. After, we used a content analysis framework that addresses the CSR topics disclosed, the extent of disclosures and the types of CSR disclosure Then, the empirical findings are presented and discussed. Finally, implications main, limitations and possible future research themes are discussed.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, corporate communication, CSR report, content analysis, legitimacy theory, accountability theory.

  1. Abbott W., Monsen R. (1979). On the measurement of corporate social responsibility: self reported disclosures as a method of measuring corporate social involvement. Academy of Management Journal, 22: 501-515.
  2. Ackerman R.W. (1973). How companies respond to social demands. Harvard University Review, 51, 4: 88-98.
  3. Aguinis, H. (2011). Organizational responsibility: Doing good and doing well. In: S. Zedeck, a cura di, APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, 3: 855-879. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  4. Auger, P., Burke, P., Devinney, T.M. and Louviere, J.J. (2003). What Will Consumers Pay for Social Product Features?. Journal of Business Ethics, 42, 3: 281-304.
  5. Beattie V., McInnes B. and Fearnley S. (2004). A methodology for analysing and evaluating narratives in annual reports: a comprehensive descriptive profile and metrics for disclosure quality attributes. Accounting Forum, 28: 205-236.
  6. Bebbington J., Larrinaga C. and Mariano M.J.M (2008). Corporate Social Reporting and Reputation Risk Management. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability, 21, 3: 337-361. Becker-Olsen K.L., Cudmore B.A. and Hill R.P. (2006). The Impact of Perceived Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumer Behavior. Journal of Business Research, 59, 1: 46-53.
  7. Berelson B. (1952). Content analysis in communication research. Glencoe: Free Press.
  8. Brammer S., Pavelin, S. (2006). Voluntary environmental disclosure by large UK companies. Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, 33,7 & 8; 1168-1188.
  9. Branco M. C., Rodrigues, L. L. (2006). Corporate Social Responsibility and Resource-Based Perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 69: 111-132.
  10. Buhr N. (1998). Environmental performance, legislation and annual report disclosure: The case of acid rain and Falconbridge. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 11: 163-190.
  11. Burke L., Logsdon J.M. (1996). How Corporate Social Responsibility Pays Off. Long Range Planning, 29, 4: 495-503.
  12. Caldwell D.F., O’Reilly C.A., III. (1982). Responses to failure: The effects of choice and responsibility on impression management. The Academy of Management Journal, 25: 121-136.
  13. Carrol A.B., Shabana K. (2010). The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12, 1: 85-105.
  14. Carroll A.B. (1979). A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Performance. Academy of Management Review, 4, 4: 497-505.
  15. Carroll A.B. (1994). Social Issues in Management Research. Business and Society, 33, 1: 5-25.
  16. Carrol A.B. (1999). Corporate Social Responsibility. Evolution of Definitional Construct. Business and Society, 38, 3: 268-295.
  17. Cerana N. (2004). Comunicare la responsabilità sociale: teorie, modelli, strumenti e casi d’eccellenza. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  18. Chirieleison C. (2002). Le strategie sociali nel governo dell’azienda. Milano: Giuffrè. Clarkson M., Li Y., Richardson G.D., Vasvari F.P. (2008). Revisiting the relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: An empirical analysis. Accounting, Organization and Society, 33: 302-327.
  19. Cochran P.L. (2007). The evolution of corporate social responsibility. Business Horizons, 50, 6: 449-54.
  20. Cormier D., Gordon, I. (2001). An examination of social and environmental reporting strategies. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 14: 587-616.
  21. Cornelissen J. (2004). Corporate Communications. Theory and Practice. London: Sage.
  22. Crane A., Palazzo G., Spence L. J., Matten D. (2014). Contesting the Value of “Creating Shared Value”. California Management Review, 56, 2: 130-153.
  23. Dacin P.A., Dacin M.T., Matear M. (2010). Social entrepreneurship: why we don’t need a new theory and how we move forward from here. The academy of management perspectives, 24, 3: 37-57.
  24. Dahlsrud A. (2008). How corporate social responsibility is defined: An analysis of 37 definitions. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 15, 1: 1-13.
  25. Davis K. (1960). Can business afford to ignore social responsibilities? California Management Review, 2: 70-76. Donaldson T., Dunfee T. W. (1994).Towards a Unified Conception of Business Ethics: Integrative Social Contracts Theory. Academy of Management Review, 19: 252-284. Davis K. (1973). The case for and against business assumptions of social responsibilities. Academy of Management Journal, 16: 312-317.
  26. Deegan C. (2002 b). Australian Financial Accounting. Sydney: McGraw Hill Book Company.
  27. Deegan C. (2002 a). The legitimating effects of social and environmental disclosures:
  28. A theoretical foundation. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 15, 3: 282-311.
  29. Deephouse D.L., Carter, S.M. (2005). An examination of differences between organizational legitimacy and organizational reputation. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 2: 329-60.
  30. Del Baldo M. (2010). Consenso, reputazione sociale, prossimità territoriale: risorse immateriali “core” nell’economia delle PMI. L’esperienza di un protagonista del territorio: BoxMarche Spa. Economia Aziendale Online, 1, 2: 111-130.
  31. Donaldson T. (1982). Corporations and Morality. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  32. Donaldson T., Dunfee T.W. (1999). Ties That Bind: A Social Contracts Approach to Business Ethics. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  33. Donaldson T., Preston L.E. (1995), The stakeholder theory of the corporation: concepts, evidence and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20, 1: 65-91.
  34. Dong S., Burritt, R.L., (2010). Cross-sectional benchmarking of social and environmental reporting practice in the Australian oil and gas industry. Sustainable Development, 18: 108-118.
  35. Dowling J. and J. Pfeffer (1975). Organizational Legitimacy: Social Values and Organizational behaviour. Pacific Sociological Review, 18, 1: 122-126.
  36. Du S., Bhattachary C.B. and Sen S. (2010). Maximizing business returns to corporate social responsibility (CSR): the role of CSR communication. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12, 1: 8-19.
  37. Duarte A.P., Mouro C. and Neves J. (2010). Corporate social responsibility: Mapping its social meaning. Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, 8, 2: 101-122.
  38. Dye R.A. (1985). Disclosure of non-proprietary information. Journal of Accounting Research, 23, 2: 123-145.
  39. Elkington J. (1997). Cannibals with Forks. The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. Oxford: Capstone Publishing.
  40. European Commission (2001). Green paper: Promoting a Euro-pean framework for corporate social responsibility. Brussels: EU Commission.
  41. European Commission. (2011). A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 forcorporate social responsibility. Brussels: EU Commission.
  42. Evans J.H. III, Sridhar S.S. (2002). Disclosure Disciplining Mechanisms: Capital Markets, Product Markets and Shareholder. The Accounting Review, 77, 3: 595-626.
  43. Everaert P., Bouten L., Van Liedekerke L., De Moor L. and Christiaens J. (2009). Discovering patterns in corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting: A transparent framework based on the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI).
  44. Ferrari L., Renna S., Sobrero R. (2009), Oltre la CSR. L’impresa del Duemila verso la Stakeholder Vision. Torino: ISEDI.
  45. Fifka M.S. (2011). Corporate responsibility reporting and its determinants in comparative perspective e a review of the empirical literature and a meta-analysis. Business Strategy and the Environment, 22, 1: 1-35. Fombrun C.J., Van Riel C.B.M. (2003). Fame & Fortune: how Successful Companies Build Winning Reputation. Upper Suddle River: Prentice Hall Financial Times.
  46. Fombrun C., Shanley M. (1990). What’s in A Name? Reputation Building and Corporate Strategy. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 2: 233-258.
  47. Forehand M. R., Grier S. (2003). When is honesty the best policy? The effect of stated company intent on consumer skepticism. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13: 349-356.
  48. Fortanier F., Kolk A. and Pinkse J., (2011). Harmonization in CSR reporting: MNEs and global CSR standards. Management International Review, 51: 665-696.
  49. Freeman R.E. (1984). Strategic Management. A Stakeholder Approach. Boston: Pitman.
  50. Freeman R.E. (2010). Managing for stakeholders: trade offs or Value Creation. Journal of Business Ethics, 96: 7-9.
  51. Friedman M. (1970). The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits. New York Times, 13 September, 122-126.
  52. Garriga E. Melé D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53: 51-71.
  53. Gazzola P., Mella P. (2006). Corporate Performance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A necessary choice? EconomiaAziendale2000 web, 3: 1-22.
  54. GBS (2013). Il bilancio sociale 2013 standard, principi di redazione del bilancio sociale. Milano: Giuffré Editore.
  55. Golob U., Podnar K. (2014). Critical points of CSR-related stakeholder dialogue in practice. Business Ethics: A European Review, 23:3, 248-257.
  56. Goodpaster K.E. (1983). The Concept of Corporate Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 2, 1:1-22.
  57. Gray R., Javad M., Power D.M. and Sinclair C.D. (2001). Social and environmental disclosure and corporate characteristics: A research note and extension. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 28: 327-356.
  58. Gray R., Javad M., Power D.M. and Sinclair C.D. (2001). Social and environmental disclosure and corporate characteristics: a research note and extension. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 28, 3 & 4: 327-356.
  59. Gray R., Kouhy R., Lavers S. (1995). Methodological Themes. Constructing a Research Database of Social and Environmental Reporting by UK Companies’. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 8, 2: 78-101.
  60. Guthrie, J., Petty, R. (2000). Are companies thinking smart? Australian CPA, July, 62-5.
  61. Hahn R., Kühnen M. (2013). Determinants of sustainability reporting: A review of results, trends, theory, and opportunities in an expanding field of research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 59: 5-21.
  62. Harmoni A. (2012). Official website as a means of stakeholder dialogue on corporate social responsibility. International Conference on Eurasian Economies, Almaty (Kazakhstan), 11-13 October.
  63. Heyes A.G. (2005). A Signaling Motive for Self-regulation in the Shadow of Coercion. Journal of Economics and Business, 57, 3: 238-46.
  64. Hockerts K. (2006). Entrepreneurial opportunity in social purpose business ventures. In Mair J., Robinson J., Hockerts K., a cura di, Social Entrepreneurship, Palgrave: Macmillan. Ingram R., Frazier K. (1980). Environmental performance and corporate disclosure. Journal of Accounting Research, 18: 612-622.
  65. Invernizzi E. (1996). La comunicazione organizzativa. Milano: Giuffrè.
  66. Jones K., Alabaster T. and Walton J. (1998). Virtual Environments for environmental reporting. Greener Management International, 21: 121-137.
  67. Jones M.J. (2010). Accounting for the environment: Towards a theoretical perspective for environmental accounting and reporting. Accounting Forum, 34: 123-138.
  68. Jose A, Lee S.M. (2007). Environmental reporting of global corporations: a content analysis based on website disclosures. Journal of Business Ethics, 72: 307-321.
  69. Jose A., Lee S. (2007). Environmental Reporting of Global Corporations: A Content Analysis based on Website Disclosures. Journal of Business Ethics, 72: 307-321.
  70. Khozein A. (2013). Sustainability Accounting, What it is and is not. International Journal of Accounting and Financial Management, 13: 726-736.
  71. Krippendorf, K. (1980). Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, Inc.
  72. Levy D.L., Brown H.S. and De Jong M. (2010). The contested politics of corporate governance: the case of the Global Reporting Initiative. Business & Society, 49: 88-115.
  73. Lichtenstein D.R., Drumwright, M.E. and Braig, B.M. (2004). The effects of corporate social responsibility on customer donations to corporate-supported non profits. Journal of Marketing, 68: 16-32.
  74. Lindgreen A., Swaen V. (2009), Corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12, 1: 1-7.
  75. Lindgreen A., Swaen V. and Johnston W.J. (2009). Corporate social responsibility: An empirical investigation of U.S. organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 2: 303-323.
  76. Logsdon J.M., Wood D.J. 2002. Reputation as an emerging construct in the business and society field: An introduction. Business & Society, 41, 4: 365-370.
  77. LundquistSrl (2012). Oltre la Comunicazione Taglia-e-Incolla: Il Web come Leva Strategica per la Sostenibilità, CSR Online Awards 2012: Italy 100.
  78. Lyon T.P., Maxwell J.W. (2011). Greenwash: Corporate environmental disclosure under threat of audit. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 20: 3-41.
  79. Manetti G. (2011). The quality of stakeholder engagement in sustainability reporting: empirical evidence and critical points. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 18: 110-122.
  80. Michelini L., Fiorentino D. (2012). New business models for creating shared value. Social Responsibility Journal, 8, 4, 561-577.
  81. Michelini L. (2012). Corporate Social Entrepreneurship and New Business Models. In Social Innovation and New Business Models (19-35). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  82. Mohr L., Eroglu D. and Ellen P. (1998). The development and testing of a measure of skepticism toward environmental claims in marketers’ communications. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 32, 1: 30-55.
  83. Neu D.H., Warsame H. and Pedwell K. (1998). Managing Public Impressions: Environmental Disclosures in Annual Reports. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 23, 3: 265-282.
  84. Neves J., Bento L. (2005). Traditional values and the pressures oftransformation. In A.
  85. Habish, J. Jonker, M. Wegner, R. Schim-peter, a cura di, Corporate social responsibility across Europe (303-314). Berlino: Heidelberg: Springer.
  86. Niemark M.K. (1995). The Hidden Dimensions of Annual Reports: Sixty Years of Social Conflict at General Motors. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener. Niskanen J., Nieminen T. (2001). The objectivity of corporate environmental reporting: A study of Finnish listed firms’ environmental disclosures. Business Strategy & the Environment, 10: 29-37.
  87. Nurn C.W, Tan G. (2010). Obtaining Intangible And Tangible Benefits From Corporate Social Responsibility. International Review of Business Research Papers, 6,4: 360-371.
  88. O’Donovan G. (2002). Environmental disclosures in the annual report – Extending the applicability and predictive power of legitimacy theory. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 15, 3: 344-371.
  89. Orlitzky M., Benjamin J. D. (2001). Corporate Social Performance and Firm Risk: A Meta-Analytic Review. Business & Society, 40, 4: 369-396.
  90. Patte D.M. (2002). The relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: a research note. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 27: 763-773.
  91. Post J.E., Preston L.E. and Sachs S. (2002). Redefining the corporation – Stakeholder management and organizational wealth. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  92. Preston L.E., Post J.E. (1975). Private Management and Public Policy: The Principle of Public Responsibility. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  93. Preston L.E., Post J.E. (1981). Private Management and Public Policy. California Management Review, 23, 3: 56-63.
  94. Purcell J.A., Loftus J.A. (2007). Corporate social responsibility: Expanding directors’ duties or enhancing corporate disclosure. Australian Journal of Corporate Law, 21, 2: 135-160.
  95. Reynolds M.A., Yuthas K. (2008). Moral discourse and corporate social responsibility reporting. Journal of Business Ethics, 78, 1-2: 47-64.
  96. Roberts R.W. (1992). Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: an application of stakeholder theory. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 17, 6: 595-612.
  97. Wood D.J. (2010). Measuring corporate social performance: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12: 50-84.
  98. Sacconi L. (2004). Responsabilità sociale come governance allargata d’impresa: un’interpretazione basata sulla teoria del contratto sociale e della reputazione. Liuc Papers n. 143, Serie Etica, Diritto ed Economia, 11: 1-8.
  99. Schwartz M.S., Carroll A.B. (2003). Corporate Social Responsibility: A Three-Domain Approach. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13, 4: 503-530.
  100. Selznick P. (1992). The Moral Commonwealth: Social Theory and the Promise of Community. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  101. Sethi S.P. (1975). Dimensions of Corporate Social Performance: An Analytical Framework. California Management Review, 17, 3: 58-65.
  102. Shocker A.D., Sethi S.P. (1974). An Approach to Incorporating Social Preferences in Developing Corporate Action Strategies. In the Unstable Ground: Corporate Social Policy in a Dynamic Society. Los Angeles: Melville Publishing Company, 67-80.
  103. Siano A. (2012), La comunicazione per la sostenibilità nel management delle imprese. Sinergie, rivista di studi e ricerche, 89: 3-23.
  104. Soloman R., Hansen K. (1985). It’s good business. New York: Atheneum.
  105. Suchman, M.C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20: 571-610.
  106. Swanson L.A., Di Zhang D. (2010). The social entrepreneurship zone. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 22, 2: 71-88.
  107. Thompson P., Zakaria Z., (2004). Corporate social responsibility reporting in Malaysia progress and prospects. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 13, 125-136. Toppinen A., Korhonen-Kurki K. (2013), Global Reporting Initiative and social impact in managing corporate responsibility: a case study of three multinationals in the forest industry. Business Ethics: A European Review, 22, 2: 202-217.
  108. Tsang E.W.K. (1998). A longitudinal study of corporate social reporting in Singapore: the case of the banking, food and beverages and hotel industries. Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, 11, 5: 624-635.
  109. Unerman J. (2000). Methodological Issues. Reflections on Quantification in Corporate Social Reporting Analysis. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 13, 5: 667-680.
  110. Unerman J., O‘Dwyer B. (2007). The business case for regulation of corporate social responsibility and accountability. Accounting Forum, 31: 332-353.
  111. Vuontisjärvi T. (2006). Corporate Social Reporting in the European Context and Human Resource Disclosure: an Analysis of Finnish Companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 69, 4: 331-354.
  112. Wanderley L.S., Lucian R., Farache F. and De Sousa Filho J.O. (2008). CSR Information disclosure on the web: A context-based approach analysing the influence of country of origin and industry sector. Journal of Business Ethics, 82: 369-378.
  113. Wartick S., Cochran P.L. (1985). The Evolution of Corporate Social Performance Model. Academy of Management Review, 10, 4: 758-769.
  114. Wartick S.L., Rude R.E. (1986). Issues Management: Corporate Fad or Corporate Function?. California Management Review, 29, 1: 124-132.
  115. Windsor D. (2006). Corporate social responsibility: three key approaches. Journal of Management Studies, 43: 93-114.
  116. Wiseman J. (1982). An evaluation of environmental disclosures made in corporate annual reports. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 7, 1: 53-63.
  117. Wood D. J. (1991a). Social Issues in Management: Theory and Research in Corporate Social Performance. Journal of Management, 17, 2: 383-406.
  118. Wood D.J. (1991b). Corporate social performance revisited. Academy of Management Review, 16: 694-718
  119. Yoon Y., Gurhan-Canli Z. and Schwarz N. (2006). The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on companies with bad reputations. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16: 377-390.
  120. Zéghal D., Ahmed S.A. (1990). Comparison of Social Responsibility Information Disclosure Media Used by Canadian firms. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 3, 1: 38-53.

  • Social media strategies to protect brand image and corporate reputation in the digital era: a digital investigation of the Eni vs. Report case Riccardo Rialti, Lamberto Zollo, Alessandro Caliandro, Cristiano Ciappei, in MERCATI & COMPETITIVITÀ 4/2016 pp.65
    DOI: 10.3280/MC2016-004005

Brunella Arru, Indagine sulla comunicazione della responsabilità sociale delle società quotate italiane in "MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ" 4/2015, pp 15-46, DOI: 10.3280/MC2015-004002