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Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3904;

Mandatory Sustainability Reporting in Germany: Does Size Matter?

Centre for Risk & Resource Management, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund 44227, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in SMEs)
PDF [1021 KB, uploaded 26 October 2018]


This article studies how German firms evaluate a recent national corporate social responsibility (CSR) law based on a European Union directive and the burden they expect regarding their organizational responsibilities due to mandatory sustainability reporting. One hundred and fifty-one firms of different sizes directly or indirectly affected by the law are included in the survey and their responses empirically analyzed using two-tailed t-tests and simple linear regression. Anchoring the discussion in stakeholder theory and the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) literature while considering large-firm idiosyncrasies, the results show differing effects on SMEs and large firms as well as firms which are directly and indirectly affected. Findings show that firm size only matters for the evaluation of the law by directly affected firms, while size does not matter in the case of indirectly affected firms. Possible moderators of this evaluation are grounded in the resource-based theory and formalization of CSR. This article contributes to the understanding of when firm size matters in the case of mandatory sustainability reporting and underlines the role of organizational resources and capabilities as well as the special position of SMEs. View Full-Text
Keywords: SMEs; sustainability reporting; competitive advantages; stakeholder theory; resource-based view; formalization of CSR SMEs; sustainability reporting; competitive advantages; stakeholder theory; resource-based view; formalization of CSR

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Bergmann, A.; Posch, P. Mandatory Sustainability Reporting in Germany: Does Size Matter? Sustainability 2018, 10, 3904.

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