Corporate social and environment-related governance disclosure practices in the textile and garments industry: evidence from Bangladesh

Kamal, Y 2013, Corporate social and environment-related governance disclosure practices in the textile and garments industry: evidence from Bangladesh, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Accounting, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Corporate social and environment-related governance disclosure practices in the textile and garments industry: evidence from Bangladesh
Author(s) Kamal, Y
Year 2013
Abstract In this thesis, three inter-related research issues have been explored within the context of the textile and garments industry of Bangladesh. This industry in Bangladesh has gained negative media publicity and Western concern over the use of child labour, poor working conditions, health and safety issues, and human rights and other labour-related issues for years. Western clothing brands who source many of their products from developing countries like Bangladesh, have particularly highlighted various concerns about the safety records and working conditions of the garments factories in Bangladesh. These heightened levels of concern would imply that the various stakeholders, including multinational buying companies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the media, expect accountability and/or transparency pertaining to corporate governance practices and related disclosures from the organisations that these international brands source their products from.
The first part of the thesis investigates the social and environment-related governance disclosure practices of a sample of textile and garments companies operating within Bangladesh. Using annual report content analysis the findings show that the disclosure of governance information lags behind general CSR disclosures. This part also shows that governance disclosures still fall short of what might be construed as necessary to support the demand or expectation of the international community, and despite ongoing international concerns about workplace conditions and associated safety, the results suggest limited accountability and transparency in relation to social and environment-related governance practices within the developing country context.
The second part of the study investigates stakeholder expectations in relation to CSR-related corporate governance practices through conducing 25 in-depth personal interviews. It explores how stakeholders’ expectations potentially translate into the disclosure of information regarding CSR-related corporate governance practices. The findings of the second part of the thesis reveal that powerful stakeholders, such as multinational buying companies, are satisfied with the information they receive, as they access this information from alternative media such as social audit reports, which cannot be accessed by other less powerful stakeholders such as NGOs, the media or employees. The results of the second part of study emphasises that researchers need to be careful when making claims about the completeness (or otherwise) of disclosures if they do not also consider the possibility that special purpose (and non-public) reports, such as social audit reports, are being prepared.
The third and last part of the thesis explores the motivations driving corporate managers’ disclosure of CSR-related corporate governance information. The insights were gathered through conducting 12 in-depth interviews with senior corporate managers of the textile and garments companies of Bangladesh. The interview results reveal that corporate managers provide CSR-related governance information primarily to satisfy powerful stakeholders. The result suggests that corporate managers of Bangladeshi supply companies are motivated by financial returns and they want to make sure that buyers get the required governance information; which is not driven by corporate accountability or social responsibility.
Combining the three parts discussed above, the thesis provides an original contribution to academic research scholarship by providing insights into the disclosure of CSR-related corporate governance information in a developing country context.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Accounting
Keyword(s) Social and environment
garments and textile
corporate social responsibility
general purpose reports
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Created: Fri, 30 May 2014, 14:27:44 EST by Maria Lombardo
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