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A theoretical exploration of the adoption of GRI (gobal reporting initiatives) : guidelines in corporate sustainability reports


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Deng, SM 2010 , 'A theoretical exploration of the adoption of GRI (gobal reporting initiatives) : guidelines in corporate sustainability reports', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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With the trend towards sustainability, society is increasingly calling for organisations to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility (CSR). In response, more and more Australian companies are engaged in CSR reporting. The literature shows differences in the quantity and quality of CSR reporting and also includes ongoing debate as to why companies engage in voluntary corporate social and environmental disclosure (CSED). This thesis aims to use the context of the adoption of Global Reporting Initiatives Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (GRI Guidelines) by Australian mining and banking companies to explore why and how CSED differs in organisations within and between industries.
The literature in relation to why companies make CSED contains many ideas but it lacks a coherent theoretical framework. This study views these explanations as possible rationales, on which a model based on the notion of institutional logic is adopted to explore legitimacy management in CSED from a micro-level aspect.
In order to understand the rationality behind CSED decisions, a comparative case study approach is utilised, using the banking and mining industries, to explore how these rationales exist and interact in the decision-processes leading to CSED. At the operational level, this study re-examines the relationships about the perceptions of managers of social and environmental pressures, the motivation for CSED, disclosure strategies and outcomes of CSED. Interview and archive data are collected and analysed to facilitate an understanding of the phenomena as well as providing corroborating evidence from different sources.
Results indicate that motivations for CSED generally stem from legitimacy risk management. This is consistent with the results of much of the extant literature, which asserts that CSR reporting is a response to pressures exerted by various stakeholders. However, how to respond to the need for legitimacy management can be different. The CSED variations between and within sectors provide evidence that institutional and strategic approaches are used in the decision making of CSED.
This study, in contributing to and extending the body of CSED and voluntary disclosure research, provides an understanding of the why and how of CSED from a multi- theoretical perspective and uses the adoption (or not) of the GRI Guidelines as the main vehicles on which the investigation is based.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Deng, SM
Keywords: Sustainable development reporting, Social responsibility of business, Social accounting, Business ethics
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Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. Introduction -- Ch. 2. Corporate social responsibility: concepts, reporting and reporting guidelines -- Ch. 3. Theoretical perspectives of managerial motivations for CSED -- Ch. 4. CSED and the adoption of GRI guidelines: an institutional legitimacy management approach -- Ch. 5. Research method -- Ch. 6. Results and discussion -- Ch. 7. Conclusions

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