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Corporate social reporting (CSR) and stakeholder accountability in Bangladesh

Hossain, M.M. and Alam, M. (2016) Corporate social reporting (CSR) and stakeholder accountability in Bangladesh. International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 24 (4). pp. 415-442.

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate organisational accountability to less economically powerful stakeholders in the absence of formal corporate social reporting (CSR) guidelines. In addition, this study emphasises the role of administrative and institutional reforms in empowering stakeholders in a developing country context, namely, Bangladesh. Design/methodology/approach - Consistent with prior literature, this qualitative study collected data through semi-structured interviews with 23 representatives from NGOs, media, civil society, customers, regulators, trade union leaders and employees who are considered as less economically powerful stakeholders. This paper draws on the demand for administrative reforms along with an institutional support structure (Owen et al., 1997) to enhance CSR and corporate accountability. Findings - The empirical evidence shows that there is a need for a stand-alone mandatory CSR to achieve stakeholder accountability. It also shows that there are demands from "stakeholders to right to know" about the company's social and environmental performance along with stakeholder engagements. There is a perceived demand for administrative reform along with institutional supports that can contribute to the CSR development in Bangladesh. These administrative reforms would encourage transparent corporate social and environmental practices. Given the socio-economic and vulnerable environmental conditions of Bangladesh, stakeholders in this study suggested contextually relevant CSR guidelines towards greater accountability. Research limitations/implications - This paper is one of the few engagement-based studies which explore the perceptions of less economically powerful stakeholders towards CSR developments in an emerging economy - Bangladesh. The findings of this study using the theoretical lens of accountability with administrative and institutional reforms lead us to conclude that companies in Bangladesh have low level of CSR towards stakeholder accountability and stakeholder engagements. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the CSR literature by highlighting the needs of CSR from the stakeholder's accountability perspective.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School Of Business and Governance
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Copyright: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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