– The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the companies’ motivations to issue or not issue voluntary standalone corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports in the Canadian context.
– The authors realized a questionnaire survey that asked Canadian companies why they do or do not issue standalone CSR reports, what their motivations and costs are, and the extent to which they comply with GRI guidelines.
– The results show that larger firms issue standalone CSR reports. As larger firms have more political visibility and are subject to greater external scrutiny than smaller firms (Watts and Zimmerman, 1986), the findings indicate that firms primarily issue standalone CSR reports in response to external scrutiny by stakeholders, which is consistent with a stakeholder perspective. The survey also identifies that ancillary motivations for Canadian firms for issuing standalone CSR reports are consistent with legitimacy and signalling perspectives.
– The authors acknowledge that the generalizability of the findings is limited due to the sample being situated within a single national context. The inferences drawn from such a sample in Canada may not be applicable to other countries with different national institutional contexts. In addition, the small size of the sample may limit the generalizability of the findings. The authors also did not specifically consider the quality of the CSR reports in the study. Finally, the work may be affected by the inherent weaknesses associated with survey research, including the inherent bias of the individuals responding to the survey.
– The research adds to the growing body of research on voluntary CSR disclosures, with particular reference to the Canadian context.