Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Corporate Social Reporting in Bangladesh
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Recent calls in the corporate social reporting (CSRep) literature have emphasized the importance of giving voice to non-managerial stakeholder groups in the social reporting process. The research, presented in this paper, employs recent work in stakeholder theory and CSRep to examine the perceptions of a diverse set of non-managerial stakeholders in the context of a developing country, Bangladesh. A series of semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals who identify with various non-managerial stakeholder groups. Interviewees generally believed that the motivation and practice of CSRep in Bangladesh is developing in response to pressures from international markets and is producing largely cosmetic responses. Also, they expressed concerns that, given the economic, political, and social conditions in Bangladesh, premature adoption of strict CSRep standards may lead to increased corruption and other unintended consequences. Whilst some of the interviewees sharply criticized the current process of imposing social accounting codes/standards on developing countries which fail to consider the important local socio-economic context, the findings suggest that there is overwhelming support for mandatory externally verified CSRep based on the principles of peoples’ right to know, full disclosure/completeness, and relevance, which are anchored in the broader principles of transparency and stakeholder accountability.
Key wordscorporate social reporting (CSRep) stakeholders stakeholders’ perceptions accountability Bangladesh
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This research has been funded by Sheffield University Management School, UK. Previous versions were presented at the International Congress of Social and Environmental Accounting Research 2003, Dundee; ‘CSR in Asia’ Conference 2006, Kuala Lumpur and Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Accounting Conference 2006, Cardiff. The first author is grateful for comments on earlier drafts of this article by the participants of the above conferences, Stewart Clegg, David Collison, David Owen, John Sillince and Jeffrey Unerman.
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