Purpose – This study aims to investigate how stakeholders perceive the company’s nonfinancial disclosure after a scandal has occurred. More specifically, the authors examine whether and how sustainability reporting practices in the aftermath of a scandal can influence the perceptions of stakeholders in terms of hypocrisy and legitimacy. Design/methodology/approach – The present research represents a companion paper to another study in this issue that investigates the adaptation of companies’ reporting behaviors after a scandal. The results of the initial qualitative study informed the subsequent quantitative study developed in this article. The authors build on the evidence of the main paper and perform a 2 3 2 between-subjects experiment to examine how stakeholders perceive the actions of companies that aim to restore their eroded legitimacy through social, environmental and sustainability (SES) reporting. Findings – The results suggest that when companies take responsibility and develop remedial, socially responsible corporate activities are perceived as less hypocritical and more legitimate. Moreover, we show an interaction effect between taking responsibility and developing remedial socially responsible actions on hypocrisy and legitimacy perception.

Hypocrisy and legitimacy in the aftermath of a scandal: an experimental study of stakeholder perceptions of nonfinancial disclosure

Lorenzo Simoni;
2021

Abstract

Purpose – This study aims to investigate how stakeholders perceive the company’s nonfinancial disclosure after a scandal has occurred. More specifically, the authors examine whether and how sustainability reporting practices in the aftermath of a scandal can influence the perceptions of stakeholders in terms of hypocrisy and legitimacy. Design/methodology/approach – The present research represents a companion paper to another study in this issue that investigates the adaptation of companies’ reporting behaviors after a scandal. The results of the initial qualitative study informed the subsequent quantitative study developed in this article. The authors build on the evidence of the main paper and perform a 2 3 2 between-subjects experiment to examine how stakeholders perceive the actions of companies that aim to restore their eroded legitimacy through social, environmental and sustainability (SES) reporting. Findings – The results suggest that when companies take responsibility and develop remedial, socially responsible corporate activities are perceived as less hypocritical and more legitimate. Moreover, we show an interaction effect between taking responsibility and developing remedial socially responsible actions on hypocrisy and legitimacy perception.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1049309
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