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Title: Development of a content analysis instrument for the interrogation of environmental narratives
Author: Beck, Almuth Cornelia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 8582
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2007
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The present study explores the development of a content analysis tool to evaluate the quality of voluntary environmental disclosures in annual reports from an investor's perspective. The analysis tool allows coding for three dimensions; narrative content, information quality and news direction. Following tests for reliability and robustness, the method is applied to a sample of 28 companies which have been matched for organisational characteristics. This matching process allows analysing the data from a country, industry and company perspective. The study period includes narratives in annual reports from 2000 to 2004 inclusive, which allows longitudinal assessments of change in disclosure patterns. Issues arising in a study using a sample of narratives of different linguistic origins are discussed and evaluated. The findings reveal that British and German companies appear to provide similar information in disclosure content and quality. There is a significant increase in high information quality disclosures from 2000 to 2004. Nonetheless, the overall level of high quality disclosures remains at a very low level suggesting that companies have ample room for improvement in the information availability of their environmental narratives. Differences in disclosure content are identified, with German companies tending to disclose more information on sustainability issues than the British ones. At the same time, British companies appeared to report more details about the responsibility structures on environmental issues than the Germans. Reporting guidelines are found to have no significant impact on disclosure quality, however, EMAS registration appears to be associated with higher levels of bad news disclosures. Last, but not least, some companies tend to re-use or recycle their environmental disclosures. This finding raises questions about the purpose and use of voluntary disclosures in annual reports.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available