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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure and CSR assurance : an experimental study of the motivations for CSR disclosure and CSR assurance, in Kuwait


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Alfaraj, MAHF ORCID: 0000-0002-6295-1595 2020 , 'Corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure and CSR assurance : an experimental study of the motivations for CSR disclosure and CSR assurance, in Kuwait', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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A common business strategy adopted by management to demonstrate commitment to socially responsible operations has been to provide a corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure when reporting to stakeholders. CSR disclosure is a communication between the business and its stakeholders. To add credibility to CSR reporting, firms may engage in CSR assurance by appointing an independent group to review their actions. The literature has identified factors that influence managers to undertake CSR disclosure and assurance. Using an experimental format, this thesis explores these influences/motivations, both individually and jointly, by considering two factors—corporate culture (considering and comparing Islamic financial institutions [IFIs] and conventional financial institutions [CFIs]) and audience (limited to investors/shareholders and the general public as stakeholders) and type of CSR disclosure and assurance. The study was conducted in a developing country - Kuwait.
This study adopted a 2 x 2, between-subject experiment, involving 120 participants (financial managers and accountants) from 47 of the 50 financial institutions listed on the Boursa Kuwait at the close of 2017. Based on the combination of variables in each group’s scenario, each participant was asked to allocate a level of importance to CSR disclosure and assurance and explain their reasons for this choice.
Analysis was conducted through the lens of systems theories (stakeholder, legitimacy and institutional) to assist in understanding participants’ motivations to engage in CSR disclosure and/or assurance. Overall, the results revealed that while the level of CSR disclosure was influenced by stakeholder type, it was not influenced by corporate culture: neither was it jointly influenced by the two factors. However, in the case of CSR assurance, neither stakeholder type, nor corporate culture had any influence. Contrary to expectations, CFIs were shown to seek legitimacy by choosing to provide higher levels of CSR disclosure and assurance to shareholders and the general public, than did their Islamic counterparts.
Qualitative analysis indicated that the four experimental groups differed in terms of their rationale for choosing a particular level of CSR disclosure; however, no differences were identified in relation to the level of CSR assurance selected. The study recommends that IFIs embed CSR practices (CSR disclosure and CSR assurance) to a greater extent in their business strategies to maintain the trust of all stakeholders in general and the public in particular, thereby increasing their institutional legitimacy.
Finally, the study contributes to the literature on CSR disclosure motivations, in general, and in particular, to developing countries, especially Kuwait, and Islamic literature by examining the influence of corporate culture and type of stakeholder on the motivation to make CSR disclosures and undertake assurance in the Kuwaiti financial sector. The practical implications of the research and limitations are acknowledged, as well as avenues for future studies.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Alfaraj, MAHF
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); CSR Disclosure; CSR Assurance; Corporate Culture; Corporate Stakeholders; Financial Institutions; Developing Countries; Islam
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Copyright 2019 the author

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