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Mandatory environmental disclosures in a legitimacy theory context

Mandatory environmental disclosures in a legitimacy theory context Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between mandatory environmental performance disclosure and subsequent environmental regulatory performance. Design/methodology/approach – Using legitimacy theory as the interpretive lens, regulatory non‐compliance disclosures threaten organizational legitimacy and non‐compliant firms are expected to respond to these threats. The potential effectiveness of different legitimation strategies for reducing these threats is evaluated. Findings – Regression analysis shows a negative correlation between the mandatory disclosure of environmental legal sanctions and subsequent regulatory violations using firms in the US oil refining industry. These results are interpreted as demonstrating that subsequent regulatory compliance is a tactic employed by managers to minimize the delegitimizing effect of organizational impropriety revealed by mandatory accounting disclosures. Practical implications – Implications for practice include linking financial reporting to environmental performance. This link gains greater importance as concern about the environmental effects of business operations becomes more acute within the investor, regulatory, and public interest arenas. Originality/value – The paper makes original contributions to research on mandatory environmental disclosures that are embedded in US financial reporting. In addition, a conception of legitimacy theory that is broader than previously relied upon in accounting research literature is reviewed. The study examines a single industry within a single country. Further research may determine whether similar relationships are observed in other industries, and whether equivalent relationships can be examined in international settings. In addition, the possibilities and limits of regulatory compliance as a measure of environmental performance, and of environmental accounting as a policy tool in the governance of the commons are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

Mandatory environmental disclosures in a legitimacy theory context

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References (58)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/09513570510609333
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between mandatory environmental performance disclosure and subsequent environmental regulatory performance. Design/methodology/approach – Using legitimacy theory as the interpretive lens, regulatory non‐compliance disclosures threaten organizational legitimacy and non‐compliant firms are expected to respond to these threats. The potential effectiveness of different legitimation strategies for reducing these threats is evaluated. Findings – Regression analysis shows a negative correlation between the mandatory disclosure of environmental legal sanctions and subsequent regulatory violations using firms in the US oil refining industry. These results are interpreted as demonstrating that subsequent regulatory compliance is a tactic employed by managers to minimize the delegitimizing effect of organizational impropriety revealed by mandatory accounting disclosures. Practical implications – Implications for practice include linking financial reporting to environmental performance. This link gains greater importance as concern about the environmental effects of business operations becomes more acute within the investor, regulatory, and public interest arenas. Originality/value – The paper makes original contributions to research on mandatory environmental disclosures that are embedded in US financial reporting. In addition, a conception of legitimacy theory that is broader than previously relied upon in accounting research literature is reviewed. The study examines a single industry within a single country. Further research may determine whether similar relationships are observed in other industries, and whether equivalent relationships can be examined in international settings. In addition, the possibilities and limits of regulatory compliance as a measure of environmental performance, and of environmental accounting as a policy tool in the governance of the commons are discussed.

Journal

Accounting Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 1, 2005

Keywords: Accounting; Disclosure; United States of America

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