Year

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong. School of Accounting & Finance

Abstract

A review of corporate social reporting (CSR) literature reveals that this area of accounting has been subject of various investigations in different countries particularly in developed countries. This study examines CSR practices incorporate annual reports and stakeholders’ CSR needs and perceptions in Iran.

Two research methodologies have been used to collect and analyse the data. Content analysis was used to examine the extent of CSR disclosures and relationships between disclosure with four corporate characteristics, namely size, profitability, financial leverage and industry type. In this regard, a sample of 103 Iranian listed companies’ annual reports were selected and reviewed for their CSR disclosures (i.e. human resources, environmental performance and policies, community activities, energy consumption and customer satisfaction and product quality). A questionnaire survey was also conducted to collect data and to investigate stakeholders’ CSR information needs and perceptions. A sum of 333 respondents from six major stakeholder groups, namely academics, auditors, bank loan officers, business managers, stockbrokers and institutional investors participated in this survey.

The results indicated that while all types of CSR information were reported by companies, it was also found human resources disclosure was the most common type of information in annual reports. The company size was the only characteristic that had a statistically significant relationship with the overall levelof CSR disclosures. In further analyses by conducting multiple regression for each CSR theme individually, mixed results were found.

In regard to stakeholders’ needs and perceptions, the results also indicated that annual reports were perceived as the main source of CSR information. Academics are shown to be the most interested group asking/expecting CSR information about or from companies. Environmental performance and policies information was ranked as the favourite type of CSR information to ask/expect about or from companies. Overall, the respondent groups believed that CSR information is insufficient. The mandatory CSR disclosures which were to be prepared according to the government guidelines was supported by the majority of respondents.

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