Impediments to CSR assurance in an emerging economy

Faizah Darus*, Yussri Sawani, Mustaffa Mohamed Zain, Tamoi Janggu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This study explores the factors that impede the growth of the voluntary adoption of independent corporate social responsibilities assurance (CSRA) practices among manufacturing companies in Malaysia. Despite the argument that independent CSRA appraisals would improve the credibility of information disclosed, the majority of CSR reports in Malaysia are still not independently assured. The aim of this study is to understand the factors that impede CSRA practices among public-listed manufacturing companies in Malaysia. The theory of reasoned action was used to underpin arguments on the reluctance of managers to undertake CSRA. Design/methodology/approach: Online questionnaire surveys were employed to obtain respondents' perceptions on the factors that hinder CSRA practices. The target respondents comprised of CSR managers, corporate communications executives and customer relations personnel. Findings: This study provides evidence that the behavioural reluctance of managers to undertake CSRA was due to their attitudes and subjective norms towards independence assurance. The subjective norms due to the risk towards corporate reputation and the exposure to public scrutiny were the main factors that impede CSRA practices among manufacturing companies in Malaysia. The managers' attitude towards cost, data management systems and the uncertainty of the merits of CSRA were also compelling factors that hinder independent CSRA. These factors seemed to override incentives to provide credible information to stakeholders. Research limitations/implications: The findings of the study are limited to the perceptions of CSR managers, corporate communications executives and customer relations personnel responsible for CSR activities of the manufacturing industries in Malaysia. The results of the study suggest that further initiatives or pressure from stakeholders or regulatory authorities may be needed to convince the companies of the benefits of undertaking third-party assurance practices as such actions would provide a platform for the companies to enhance the credibility of their CSR reporting. Practical implications: The findings gleaned from this study would be of interest to the relevant corporate bodies and regulatory authorities with a view to formulating strategies to improve CSRA practices among organisations in Malaysia. Originality/value: The findings from the study offer initial insights into the impediments to CSRA practices in an emerging economy. It adds substantially to the existing literature that focuses mainly on CSRA practices in developed countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-267
Number of pages15
JournalManagerial Auditing Journal
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Assurance
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Emerging economy
  • Malaysia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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