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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 38; doi:10.3390/su9010038

Sustainability Reporting in Family Firms: A Panel Data Analysis

Department of Economics, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese VA, Italy
Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia PV, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yongrok Choi
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 3 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [256 KB, uploaded 28 December 2016]


We analyze the largely unexplored differences in sustainability reporting within family businesses using a sample of 230 non-financial Italian listed firms for the period 2004–2013. Drawing on legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory, integrated with the socio-emotional wealth (SEW) approach, we study how family control, influence and identification shape a firm’s attitude towards disclosing its social and environmental behavior. Our results suggest that family firms are more sensitive to media exposure than their non-family counterparts and that family control enhances sustainability disclosure when it is associated to a family’s direct influence on the business, by the founder’s presence on the board or by having a family CEO. In cases of indirect influence, without family involvement on the board, the level of family ownership is negatively related to sustainability reporting. On the other hand, a formal identification of the family with the firm by business name does not significantly affect social disclosure. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability reporting; family firms; legitimacy; stakeholders; socioemotional wealth; Global Reporting Initiative sustainability reporting; family firms; legitimacy; stakeholders; socioemotional wealth; Global Reporting Initiative
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gavana, G.; Gottardo, P.; Moisello, A.M. Sustainability Reporting in Family Firms: A Panel Data Analysis. Sustainability 2017, 9, 38.

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