Corporate social reporting (CSR): an attempt to revisit legitimacy theory
The paper‟s aim is twofold: it first introduces a revisited Legitimacy Theory (LT) framework and then moves on to empirically consider its applicability by examining the reaction of international aviation companies, in terms of Annual and Sustainability Reports disclosure, to some major social accidents. The accidents reviewed are the Concorde crash north of Paris (2000) and its effect on the reporting of British Airways (BA), and the Singapore Airlines (SIA) accident at T‟ai-pei. A largely qualitative approach to Content Analysis (CA) is employed, considering not only the variations in the measured levels of CSD prior and following the accident, but also what is actually stated in the disclosures. The quantitative and qualitative evidence from both the companies support the identified as pragmatic, image-oriented variant of the framework, where organisations engage with CSR to ensure they possess adequate supplies of the legitimacy resource to maintain profitability and long term survival.
Working paper; presented in the British Accounting Association Annual Conference, Blackpool, 1-3 April