Advertisement

Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 779–797 | Cite as

Understanding the beliefs, actions and outcomes of sustainability reporting: An experimental approach

  • Matthias GräulerEmail author
  • Michael Freundlieb
  • Kerstin Ortwerth
  • Frank Teuteberg
Article

Abstract

IS researchers have identified substantial research gaps within the IS community regarding sustainability. Therefore, this paper pursues an experimental approach to investigate online sustainability reports (SRs) which are a common instrument for corporate sustainability communication. The applied research approach examines not only which properties of SRs enhance the readers’ willingness to read a SR, but also to what extent SRs can influence the readers’ actions and impact corporate image. Within the course of this paper, a belief-action-outcome (BAO) model and a corresponding experimental design, which examines SRs in three phases (i.e. before reading, during reading and after reading), are developed and conducted; subsequently the results are empirically analysed. Finally, implications for practitioners and researchers in the field of sustainability and especially sustainability reporting are demonstrated. Furthermore, possible starting points for future research are discussed. The results indicate that a sophisticated SR that satisfies the readers’ expectations has a significant impact on corporate image and the readers’ actions (i.e. buying and recommending products, investing and considering to work for the reporting company), which qualifies sustainability reporting as an important channel for corporate communication.

Keywords

Sustainability reporting Experiment Corporate social responsibility Belief-action-outcome model Acceptance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the participants in the experiment as well as the other project members, specifically Ms. Marita Imhorst, who provided valuable insights, help and substantive feedback during the research process.

This work is part of the project IT-for-Green (Next Generation CEMIS for Environmental, Energy and Resource Management). The IT-for-Green project is funded by the European regional development fund (grant number W/A III 80119242).

References

  1. Abrahamson, E. (1991). Managerial fads and fashions: The diffusion and rejection of innovations. The Academy of Management Review, 16(3), 586–612.Google Scholar
  2. Alwin, D. F., & Krosnick, J. A. (1991). The reliability of survey attitude measurement: The influence of question and respondent attributes. Sociological Methods & Research, 20(1), 139–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, E. W. (1998). Customer satisfaction and word of mouth. Journal of Service Research, 1(1), 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1978). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Advances in Behaviour Research and Therapy, 1(4), 139–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bartels, W., Iansen-Rogers, J., & Kuszewski, J. (2008). Count me inThe readerstake on sustainability reporting. http://www.kpmg.com/GR/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Sustainability/Documents/CountMeIn.pdf.
  6. Bhattacherjee, A. (2001). Understanding information systems continuance: An expectation-confirmation model. MIS Quarterly, 25(3), 351–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Birkett, N. (1986). Selecting the number of response categories for a Likert-type scale. Proceedings of the American Statistical Association (pp. 488–492). Washington DC.Google Scholar
  8. Brundtland Commission. (1987). In G. H. Brundtland (Ed.), Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cater-Steel, A., & Tan, W.-G. (2010). The role of IT service management in Green IT. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 17(1), 107–125.Google Scholar
  10. Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. El-Gayar, O., & Fritz, B. D. (2006). Environmental management information systems (EMIS) for sustainable development: A conceptual overview. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 17(1).Google Scholar
  12. Elkington, J. (1998). Partnerships from cannibals with forks—The triple bottom line of 21st-century business. Environmental Quality Management, 8(1), 37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  14. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.Google Scholar
  16. Friedman, H. H., & Amoo, T. (1999). Rating the rating scales. Journal of Marketing Management, 9(3), 114–123.Google Scholar
  17. Gatewood, R. D., Gowan, M. A., & Lautenschlager, G. J. (1993). Corporate image, recruitment image, and initial job choice decisions. The Academy of Management Journal, 36(2), 414–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. George, J. F., Easton, G. K., Nunamaker, J. F., & Northcraft, G. B. (1990). A study of collaborative group work with and without computer-based support. Information Systems Research, 1(4), 394–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Global Reporting Initiative. (2011). Sustainability reporting guidelines 3.1. Global Reporting Initiative.Google Scholar
  20. Goodhue, D. L. (1995). Understanding user evaluations of information systems. Management Science, 41(12), 1827–1844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grant, R. M. (1996). Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 109–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Batra, R. (2004). When corporate image affects product evaluations: The moderating role of perceived risk. Journal of Marketing Research, 41(2), 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hair, J. F. J., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Heath, Y., & Gifford, R. (2006). Free-market ideology and environmental degradation: The case of belief in global climate change. Environment and Behavior, 38(1), 48–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Helm, S. (2007). The role of corporate reputation in determining investor satisfaction and loyalty. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(1), 22–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hevner, A. R., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004). Design science in information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 28(1), 75–105.Google Scholar
  27. Higgins, C. A., & Compeau, D. R. (1995). Computer self-efficacy: Development of a measure and initial test. MIS Quarterly, 19(2), 189–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Isenmann, R. (2004). Internet-based sustainability reporting. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 3(2), 145–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Isenmann, R., Gómez, J. M., & Süpke, D. (2011). Making stakeholder dialogue for sustainability issues happen—Benefits, reference architecture and pilot implementation for automated sustainability reporting à la Carte. Proceedings of the 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. IEEE Computer Society.Google Scholar
  30. Kaiser, H. F. (1958). The varimax criterion for analytic rotation in factor analysis. Psychometrika, 23(3), 187–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Keith, M. J., Babb, J., Furner, C. P., & Abdullat, A. (2011). The role of mobile self-efficacy in the adoption of location-based applications: An iPhone experiment. Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.Google Scholar
  32. Kim, D. J., Ferrin, D. L., & Rao, H. R. (2008). Trust and satisfaction, two stepping stones for successful e-commerce relationships: A longitudinal exploration. Information Systems Research, 20(2), 237–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kline, P. (1998). The handbook of psychological testing. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Kolk, A. (2004). A decade of sustainability reporting: Developments and significance. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 3(1), 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee, Y., Kozar, K. A., & Larsen, K. R. T. (2003). The technology acceptance model: Past, present and future. Communications of the AIS, 12(50), 752–780.Google Scholar
  36. Lim, K. H., Ward, L. M., & Benbasat, I. (1997). An empirical study of computer system learning: Comparison of co-discovery and self-discovery methods. Information Systems Research, 8(3), 254–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McKinney, V., Yoon, K., & Zahedi, F. (2002). The measurement of web-customer satisfaction: An expectation and disconfirmation approach. Information Systems Research, 13(3), 296–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McKnight, D. H., Choudhury, V., & Kacmar, C. (2002). Developing and validating trust measures for e-commerce: An integrative typology. Information Systems Research, 13(3), 334–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McWilliams, A., & Siegel, D. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective. The Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117–127.Google Scholar
  40. Melville, N. P. (2010). Information systems innovation for environmental sustainability. MIS Quarterly, 34(1), 1–21.Google Scholar
  41. Nguyen Nha, L. G. (2001). Corporate image and corporate reputation in customers’ retention decisions in services. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 1(8), 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  43. Oliver, R. L. (1977). Effect of expectation and disconfirmation on postexposure product evaluations: An alternative interpretation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(4), 480–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Oliver, R. L. (1980). A cognitive model of the antecedents and consequences of satisfaction decisions. Journal of Marketing Research, 1(11), 460–469. JSTOR.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Oliver, R. L., & Burke, R. R. (1999). Expectation processes in satisfaction formation: A field study. Journal of Service Research, 1(3), 196–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Paul, S., Seetharaman, P., & Ramamurthy, K. (2004). User satisfaction with system, decision process, and outcome in GDSS based meeting: An experimental investigation. Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.Google Scholar
  47. Reips, U.-D. (2002). Standards for internet-based experimenting. Experimental Psychology, 49(4), 243–256.Google Scholar
  48. Scott, W. R. (2001). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  49. Singh, J., & Sirdeshmukh, D. (2000). Agency and trust mechanisms in consumer satisfaction and loyalty judgments. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), 150–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Venkatesh, V., & Bala, H. (2008). Technology acceptance Model 3 and a research agenda on interventions. Decision Sciences, 39(2), 273–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Venkatesh, V., & Davis, F. D. (2000). A theoretical extension of the technology acceptance model: Four longitudinal field studies. Management Science, 46(2), 186–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User acceptance of information technology—Toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425–478.Google Scholar
  53. Vessey, I. (1991). Cognitive fit: A theory-based analysis of the graphs versus tables literature. Decision Sciences, 22(2), 219–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vessey, I., & Galletta, D. (1991). Cognitive fit: An empirical study of information acquisition. Information Systems Research, 2(1), 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Watson, R. T., Boudreau, M.-C., & Chen, A. J. (2010). Information systems and environmentally sustainable development: Energy informatics and new directions for the IS community. MIS Quarterly, 34(1), 23–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Gräuler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Freundlieb
    • 1
  • Kerstin Ortwerth
    • 1
  • Frank Teuteberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Information Management and Corporate Governance, Research Group on Accounting and Information SystemsUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations