Exploring theoretical explanations of voluntary disclosure by quantitative and qualitative investigation : evidence form Malaysia
This thesis explores disclosure theories through examining voluntary disclosure in Malaysian corporate annual reports. The objectives of the study are; (i) to evaluate the extent of voluntary disclosure in relation to new corporate governance regulations, (ii) to determine changes in factors influencing voluntary disclosure in annual reports following the actions of the Malaysian government in response to the 1997 financial crisis, (iii) to assess the relative applicability of established disclosure theories in explaining managerial motives for voluntary disclosure in a developing country and (iv) to use interview-based research to complement results from statistical analysis. The contribution of this study is four-fold. Firstly, it shows how theories originating in developed countries help explain managerial decisions on voluntary disclosure in a developing country. The analysis of statistical results and interview findings leads to the development of a model of theoretical interpretation of factors influencing voluntary disclosure in annual reports. Secondly, contrary to expectations, this study finds that none of the three variables representing new governance initiatives, namely the proportion of independent directors, an independent chairman and financial year-end is statistically significant in explaining voluntary disclosure in annual reports. The statistical results show that traditional influences such as director ownership and domination of family members on the board continue to influence voluntary disclosure. Thirdly, interviews contribute to validation of statistical results in respect of selected tested variables and disclosure indices for specific companies. Interviews also enhance the interpretation of statistical findings and help in unravelling other factors influencing voluntary disclosure especially those not easily captured in a statistical model. Fourthly, the combination of qualitative interview technique, quantitative multiple regression analysis and link to theories presents a methodological extension to research in accounting disclosure practice.