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Reporting within the Corridor of Conformance: Managerial Perspectives on Work Environment Disclosures in Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting

1
Centre for Research on Security Practices, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus, Brantford, ON N3T 2W2, Canada
2
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3825; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143825
Received: 27 May 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 1 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
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Abstract

This paper examines managerial perspectives on work environment (WE) disclosures in corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. WE encompasses all aspects of the design and management of the work system that affect the employees’ interactions with the workplace. The data are drawn from interviews with 20 CSR managers in large companies that are recognized as high performers in CSR. Managers reported that WE disclosures were an important part of CSR reporting and had several benefits—for example, it helped to maintain companies’ reputations as good places to work, which were of interest to both investors and potential employees. However, WE reporting was at a low level, focusing predominantly on occupational health and safety performance indicators, such as the number of employee injuries per year. We suggest that organizations derive legitimacy by reporting WE disclosures within a corridor of conformance that permits a low level of reporting and a great deal of latitude regarding what topics and how topics are disclosed, provided organizations meet institutional expectations. The corridor is maintained by an institutional environment in which, from participants’ perspectives, few external stakeholders were interested in WE disclosures representing employee well-being (e.g., psychological health) and the prevailing CSR reporting standards and guidelines provide scant information about employee health. View Full-Text
Keywords: work environment; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); CSR reporting; interviews; managers; occupational health and safety work environment; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); CSR reporting; interviews; managers; occupational health and safety
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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Dixon, S.M.; Searcy, C.; Neumann, W.P. Reporting within the Corridor of Conformance: Managerial Perspectives on Work Environment Disclosures in Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3825.

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