Current issue

The Korean Society for Journalism & Communication Studies - Vol. 65 , No. 1

[ Article ]
Korean Journal of Journalism & Communication StudiesVol. 64, No. 6, pp.238-274
Abbreviation: KSJCS
ISSN: 2586-7369 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Dec 2020
Received 07 Aug 2020 Revised 13 Nov 2020 Accepted 30 Nov 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20879/kjjcs.2020.64.6.007

기업의 정당성과 지속가능성 커뮤니케이션 : 지속가능성 정보공시의 결정요인에 관한 비교분석
윤태일** ; 변혜영***
**한림대학교 광고홍보학과 교수 (icarus44@hallym.ac.kr)
***강원대학교 경영회계학부 교수 (hb70@kangwon.ac.kr)

Corporate Legitimacy and Sustainability Communication: A Comparative Analysis on the Determinants of Sustainability Information Disclosure
Tae-Il Yoon** ; Hae-Young Byun***
**Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Hallym University, first author (icarus44@hallym.ac.kr)
***Professor, Division of Business Administration and Accounting, Kangwon National University, corresponding author (hb70@kangwon.ac.kr)
Funding Information ▼

초록

기업활동이 한 사회의 규범과 가치에 비추어 당연하고 적절하며 바람직하다고 여겨질 때 기업은 정당성을 확보할 수 있다. 정당성을 확보할 때 기업의 존립이 가능하고 경쟁력을 갖는다는 점에서 기업 정당성은 위기관리와 명성관리의 토대이기도 하다. 기업 정당성을 강화하는 효과적인 수단 중 하나가 지속가능 경영을 실천하고 그에 대한 정보를 이해관계자에게 널리 알리는 지속가능성 정보공시이다. 기업의 재무정보 데이터와 GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) 지속가능성 공시 데이터베이스를 이용하여 이 논문은 지속가능 경영에 대한 정당성 압력이 한국기업과 글로벌기업의 정보공시에 어떤 영향을 미치는가를 분석해 보았다. 분석결과 한국과 글로벌 기업은 정당성 압력과 관련하여 지속가능성 정보공시의 결정요인에서 차이가 드러났다. 한국기업은 매체에 많이 노출될수록 정당성 압력을 많이 받아 정보공시 수준이 높은 반면, 글로벌기업은 환경에 민감한 산업에 속하는 기업이 정당성 압력을 많이 받아 정보공시 수준이 높았다. 매체 노출에서 기인하는 한국기업의 정당성 압력이 외생적이고 조건적인데 반해 환경 민감도에 따른 글로벌기업의 정당성 압력은 내재적이고 불가피하다는 점을 감안하면, 한국기업이 글로벌 경쟁력을 확보하기 위해서도 정당성 압력이 실효적으로 작동되어야 함을 논의했다.

Abstract

When business activities are considered desirable, proper, or appropriate within some social system of norms and values, corporations can maintain legitimacy. Given that companies can survive and become competitive after gaining legitimacy, coping with corporate legitimacy is the foundation for crisis management and reputation management. In this context, corporate sustainability communication (CSC) has emerged as an important area of ​​strategic communication. CSC is a form of social responsibility management that contributes to the sustainable development of a society and involves actively communicating the information to the public. One effective CSC channel is the sustainability report, an annual publication that discloses information about how much a company has practiced sustainability management.

Among many theories that explain the determinants affecting the disclosure of sustainability information, the legitimacy theory argues that the greater the visibility of a company, the greater the legitimacy pressure that a company should fulfill its social responsibilities, and that companies more actively disclose information on sustainability management to cope with this legitimacy pressure. As the business environment becomes global, stakeholders' expectations for corporate legitimacy vary from country to country, and accordingly, the factors affecting sustainable information disclosure may also differ. Although understanding which legitimacy pressures affect sustainability information disclosure is more important in the global environment, there has been little research on this.

To fill this research gap, this paper examines which determinants drive Korean companies to disclose their sustainability information to cope with legitimacy pressures, and how they are similar and different in some respects compared to global companies. Specifically, we measure the level of information disclosure contained in sustainability reports of Korean and global companies, and then combine it with the corporate financial data by using GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability disclosure database and business data platform.

The results indicate that Korean and global companies differ in the determinants of sustainability disclosure in relation to the legitimacy pressure. The more Korean companies are exposed to the media, the greater the legitimacy pressure, leading to a higher level of sustainability disclosure. On the other hand, global companies from environmentally sensitive industries face strong legitimacy pressure, which leads to a higher level of sustainability disclosure. The findings suggest that the legitimacy pressure of Korean companies resulting from media exposure is exogenous and conditional, whereas the legitimacy pressure of global companies due to environmental sensitivity is inherent and inevitable.

Theoretical and practical implications of this paper are discussed. Theoretically, This paper presents a new research agenda for Korean communications research in analyzing group-level corporate behavior based on objective data platform and attempting a cross-national analysis. From a practical perspective, this paper stresses the need for policy intervention that effectively leverages legitimacy pressure for Korean companies to secure global competitiveness.


Keywords: corporate legitimacy, corporate sustainability communication (CSC), information disclosure, Global Reporting Initiative(GR)
키워드: 기업 정당성, 기업 지속가능성 커뮤니케이션, 정보공시, GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5A2A01026448). This study was supported by 2018 Research Grant from Kangwon National University (No. 520180079).


References
1. Aerts, W., & Cormier, D. (2009). Media legitimacy and corporate environmental communication. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(1), 1-27.
2. Ali, W., Frynas, J. G., & Mahmood, Z. (2017). Determinants of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure in developed and developing countries: A literature review. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 24(4), 273–294.
3. Avram, V., Calu, D. A., Dumitru,V. F., Dumitru, M., Glăvan, M. E., & Jinga, G. (2018). The institutionalization of the consistency and comparability principle in the European companies. Energies, 11(12), 3456.
4. Bachmann, P., & Ingenhoff, D. (2016). Legitimacy through CSR disclosures? The advantage outweighs the disadvantages. Public Relations Review, 42(3), 386-394.
5. Belkaoui, A., & Karpik, P. G. (1989). Determinants of the corporate decision to disclose social information. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 2(1), 36-51.
6. Branco, M. C., & Rodrigues, L. L. (2008). Factors influencing social responsibility disclosure by Portuguese companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 83(4), 685–701.
7. Cahan, S. F., De Villiers, C., Jeter, D. C., Naiker, V., & Van Staden, C. J. (2016). Are CSR disclosures value relevant? Cross-country evidence. European Accounting Review, 25(3), 579-611.
8. Castelló, I., & Lozano, J. M. (2011). Searching for new forms of legitimacy through corporate responsibility rhetoric. Journal of Business Ethics, 100(1), 11-29.
9. Chatterji, A. K., & Toffel, M. W. (2010). How firms respond to being rated. Strategic Management Journal, 31(9), 917–945.
10. Chaudhuri, S. (2012, January 27). Public Eye award singles out mining company Vale, Barclays. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jan/27/public-eye-awards-vale-barclays
11. Cho, C. H., Freedman, M., & Patten, D. M. (2012). Corporate disclosure of environmental capital expenditures: A test of alternative theories. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 25(3), 486–507.
12. Choi. Y., & Kim, S. (2017). The effects of crisis types based on corporate associations, crisis communication strategy, and crisis history on publics perceptions about strategies and corporate legitimacy. Korean Journal of Journalism & Communication Studies, 61(3), 191-221.
13. Cochran, P. L., & Wood, R. A. (1984). Corporate social responsibility and financial performance. Academy of management Journal, 27(1), 42-56.
14. Cornell, B., & Shapiro, A. C. (1987). Corporate stakeholders and corporate finance. Financial management, 16(1), 5-14.
15. Cowen, S. S., Ferreri, L. B., & Parker, L. D. (1987). The impact of corporate characteristics on social responsibility disclosure: A typology and frequency-based analysis. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 12(2), 111-122.
16. Cuadrado-Ballesteros, B., Frías-Aceituno, J., & Martínez-Ferrero, J. (2014). The role of media pressure on the disclosure of sustainability information by local governments. Online Information Review, 38(1), 114-135.
17. de Villiers, C., Low, M., & Samkin, G. (2014). The institutionalisation of mining company sustainability disclosures. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, 51–58.
18. Devin, B. (2016). Half-truths and dirty secrets: Omissions in CSR communication. Public Relations Review 42. 226-228.
19. Dias, A., Rodrigues, L. L., & Craig, R. (2016). Global financial crisis and corporate social responsibility disclosure. Social Responsibility Journal, 12(4), 654-671.
20. Dong, S., Burritt, R., & Qian, W. (2014). Salient stakeholders in corporate social responsibility reporting by Chinese mining and minerals companies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, 59–69.
21. Fifka, M. S., & Drabble, M. (2012). Focus and standardization of sustainability reporting: A comparative study of the United Kingdom and Finland. Business Strategy & the Environment, 21(7), 455–474.
22. Garcia-Sanchez, I. M., Cuadrado-Ballesteros, B., & Sepulveda, C. (2014). Does media pressure moderate CSR disclosures by external directors?. Management Decision, 52(6), 1014-1045.
23. Gavana, G., Gottardo, P., & Moisello, A. M. (2017). Sustainability reporting in family firms: A panel data analysis. Sustainability, 9(1), 38-56.
24. Giannarakis, G. (2014). Corporate governance and financial characteristic effects on the extent of corporate social responsibility disclosure. Social Responsibility Journal. 10(4), 569-590.
25. Gill, D. L., Dickinson, S. J., & Scharl, A. (2008). Communicating sustainability: A web content analysis of North American, Asian and European firms. Journal of Communication Management, 12(3), 243-262.
26. Godemann, J., & Michelsen, G. (2011). Sustainability communication: An introduction In J. Godemann, & G. Michelsen (eds). Sustainability communication (pp. 3-11). New York, NY: Springer.
27. Hąbek, P. & Wolniak, R. (2016). Assessing the quality of corporate social responsibility reports: The case of reporting practices in selected European Union member states. Quality & Quantity, 50, 399–420
28. Hahn, R., & Kühnen, M. (2013). Determinants of sustainability reporting: A review of results, trends, theory, and opportunities in an expanding field of research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 59, 5-21.
29. Haji, A. A. (2013). Corporate social responsibility disclosures over time: Evidence from Malaysia. Managerial Auditing Journal, 28(7), 647-676.
30. Hendrix, J. A. (2004). Public relations cases. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
31. Hossain, M., Tan, L. M., & Adams, M. (1994). Voluntary disclosure in an emerging capital market: Some empirical evidence from companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. The International Journal of Accounting, 29(4), 334-351.
32. Huang-Horowitz, N. C., & Evans, S. K. (2017). Communicating organizational identity as part of the legitimation process: A case study of small firms in an emerging field. International Journal of Business Communication, 57(3), 325-351.
33. Inchausti, B. G. (1997). The influence of company characteristics and accounting regulation on information disclosed by Spanish firms. European Accounting review, 6(1), 45-68.
34. Jeong, J. (2006). The conceptual background and discussion of the sustainability report. Journal of Public Welfare Administration, 16(1), 137-163.
35. Jose, A., & Lee, S. M. (2007). Environmental reporting of global corporations: A content analysis based on website disclosures. Journal of Business Ethics, 72(4), 307-321.
36. Jones, S., Frost, G., Loftus, J., & Laan, S. (2007). An empirical examination of the market returns and financial performance of entities engaged in sustainability reporting. Australian Accounting Review, 17(41), 78-87.
37. Ki, E. & Shin, S. (2015). Organization sustainability communication (OSC): Similarities and differences of OSC messages in the United States and South Korea. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 36-43.
38. Knebel, S., & Seele, P. (2015). Quo vadis GRI? A (critical) assessment of GRI 3.1 A+ non-financial reports and implications for credibility and standardization. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 20(2), 196–212.
39. Lai, A., Melloni, G., & Stacchezzini, R. (2016). Corporate sustainable development: Is “integrated reporting” a legitimation strategy? Business Strategy & the Environment, 25(3), 165–177.
40. Lee, M. S., Sim, W. J., Noh, G. S., & Shin, H. K. (2014). An international comparative investigation on information disclosure levels by GRI key indicators of sustainability report. Logos Management Review, 12(3), 173-186.
41. Legendre, S., & Coderre, F. (2013). Determinants of GRI G3 application levels: The case of the Fortune Global 500. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 20(3), 182–192.
42. Lock, I., & Seele, P. (2016). The credibility of CSR (corporate social responsibility) reports in Europe: Evidence from a quantitative content analysis in 11 countries. Journal of Cleaner Production, 122, 186–200.
43. Mahoney, L. S., Thorne, L., Cecil, L., & LaGore, W. (2013). A research note on standalone corporate social responsibility reports: Signaling or greenwashing? Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 24(4/5), 350–359.
44. McGuire, J. B., Sundgren, A., & Schneeweis, T. (1988). Corporate social responsibility and firm financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 31(4), 854-872.
45. Meek, G. K., Roberts, C. B., & Gray, S. J. (1995). Factors influencing voluntary annual report disclosures by US, UK and continental European multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, 26(3), 555-572.
46. Mills, D. L., & Gardner, M. J. (1984). Financial profiles and the disclosure of expenditures for socially responsible purposes. Journal of Business Research, 12(4), 407-424.
47. Milne, M., & Gray, R. (2013). W(h)ither ecology? The triple bottom line, the Global Reporting Initiative, and corporate sustainability reporting. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(1), 13–29.
48. Ministry of Environment. (2007) A study on the introduction of the corporate environmental information disclosure system
49. Nekhili, M., Nagati, H., Chtioui, T., & Rebolledo, C. (2017). Corporate social responsibility disclosure and market value: Family versus nonfamily firms. Journal of Business Research, 77, 41-52.
50. Nielsen, A. E., & Thomsen, C. (2018). Reviewing corporate social responsibility communication: a legitimacy perspective. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 23(4), 492-511.
51. Nikolaeva, R., & Bicho, M. (2011). The role of institutional and reputational factors in the voluntary adoption of corporate social responsibility reporting standards. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(1), 136-157.
52. Palazzo, G., & Scherer, A. G. (2006). Corporate legitimacy as deliberation: A communicative framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 66(1), 71-88.
53. Park, S. J., & Cha, H. W. (2009). A study on the effect of the corporate reputation, perceived motivation and perceived fit of corporate social responsibility on the recognition of corporate legitimacy in crisis-based on the oil spill incidence of Samsung Heavy Industries. Korean journal of Communication and Information, 45, 496-532.
54. Patten, D. M. (1991). Exposure, legitimacy, and social disclosure. Journal of Accounting and public policy, 10(4), 297-308.
55. Reverte, C. (2009). Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure ratings by Spanish listed firms. Journal of business ethics, 88(2), 351-366.
56. Roberts, R. W. (1992). Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: An application of stakeholder theory. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 17(6), 595-612.
57. Signitzer, B., & Prexl, A. (2007). Corporate sustainability communications: Aspects of theory and professionalization. Journal of Public Relations Research, 20(1), 1-19.
58. Shim, K., & Lee, H. (2014). The effect of perceived corporate legitimacy on consumer behavioral intention: Focused on the mediating role of perceived product values. Journal of Korean Marketing Association, 29(2), 25-53.
59. Skouloudis, A., Jones, N., Malesios, C., & Evangelinos, K. (2014). Trends and determinants of corporate non-financial disclosure in Greece. Journal of Cleaner Production, 68, 174–188.
60. Stacchezzini, R., Melloni, G., & Lai, A. (2016). Sustainability management and reporting: The role of integrated reporting for communicating corporate sustainability management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 136, 102–110.
61. Strang, D., & Macy, M. W. (2001). In search of excellence: Fads, success stories, and adaptive emulation. American Journal of Sociology, 107(1), 147-182.
62. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571-610.
63. Tadros, H., & Magnan, M. (2019). How does environmental performance map into environmental disclosure? Sustainability Accounting, Management & Policy Journal, 10(1), 62–96.
64. Wang, K. T., & Li, D. (2016). Market reactions to the first-time disclosure of corporate social responsibility reports: Evidence from China. Journal of Business Ethics, 138(4), 661-682.
65. Yoon, T. (2020). Comparative analysis of corporate substantiality communication between Korean and global companies: Examining the information disclosure level in substantiality reports. The Korean Journal of Advertising, 31(4), 7-31.
66. Zhao, M. (2012). CSR-based political legitimacy strategy: Managing the state by doing good in China and Russia. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(4), 439-460.

부록
1. 박수정·차희원 (2009). 기업 명성과 기업의 사회적 책임 활동의 동기와 적합성이 위기 시 기업 정당성 인식에 미치는 영향: 삼성중공업 기름유출 사례를 중심으로. <한국언론정보학보>, 통권 45호, 496-532.
2. 심경환·이호배 (2014). 지각된 기업 정당성이 소비자 행동의도에 미치는 영향: 지각된 제품가치의 매개효과를 중심으로. <마케팅연구>, 29권 2호, 25-53.
3. 윤태일 (2020). 한국기업과 글로벌기업의 지속가능성 커뮤니케이션에 대한 비교분석: 지속가능성 보고서의 정보공시 수준을 중심으로. <광고학연구>, 31권 4호, 7-31.
4. 주정 (2006). 지속가능성 보고서의 개념적 배경과 논의점. <복지행정 논총>, 16권 1호, 137-163.
5. 최윤정·김수연 (2017). 기업 연상에 따른 위기 유형, 대응 전략, 위기 이력이 공중의 위기 커뮤니케이션 및 기업 정당성 인식에 미치는 영향. <한국언론학보>, 61권 3호, 191-221.
6. 환경부 (2007). <기업 환경정보 공시제도 도입방안 연구>