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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812

Abstract

SAMPONG, Frank; SONG, Na; AMOAKO, Gilbert K.  and  BOAHENE, Kingsley O.. Voluntary social performance disclosure and firm profitability of South African listed firms: Examining the complementary role of board independence and managerial ownership. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2021, vol.24, n.1, pp.1-12. ISSN 2222-3436.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v24i1.3346.

BACKGROUND: There is growing literature promoting corporate governance mechanisms as important elements that could mitigate the inconclusive findings within the corporate social performance and firm profitability research. A key theoretical assumption within the extant literature that provides support for this proposition is that corporate social performance and firm profitability are organisational outcomes in the presence of good corporate governance. AIM: Firstly, the aim is to re-investigate voluntary social performance disclosure (SPD) and long-term profitability association from the perspective of international standards, using the Global Reporting Initiative G3.1 guidelines. Secondly, to examine the joint moderating effect of board independence and managerial ownership (MO) on the voluntary SPD and profitability nexus. SETTING: The South Africa institutional setting, where recent corporate governance regimes require firms to voluntarily make corporate governance related disclosures on both shareholder-and stakeholder-related information is used as the study context METHOD: Utilising manually extracted data of listed firms, over the period 2010 to 2015, the generalised least square regression and seemingly unrelated regression (with a 1-year lag as the main independent variable) are used to examine the stated hypotheses RESULTS: We found a positive association between voluntary SPD and long-term profitability. We also found that the presence of non-executive directors positively moderates the association between voluntary SPD and long-term profitability. Thirdly, the proportion of MO significantly positively moderates the association between voluntary SPD and long-term profitability. Lastly, the complementary role of the presence of non-executive directors and the proportion of MO significantly positively moderates the association between voluntary SPD and long-term profitability. CONCLUSION: This study finds support for scholarly theoretical arguments that organisational outcomes are largely possible in the presence of good corporate governance, which has a long-term implication for firms' shareholder wealth maximisation. This study contributes to the ongoing research examining the notion of substitutive versus complementary effects of governance mechanisms, and a growing research literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure from the perspective of international standardisation. This study therefore makes far-reaching contributions to the corporate governance and social responsibility literature in an African context.

Keywords : corporate governance; corporate social performance; complementary [substitutive framework]; global reporting initiative; emerging markets.

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