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Applying stakeholder theory to analyze corporate environmental performance: Evidence from Australian listed companies


  • Evangeline Elijido-Ten


Purpose - Stakeholder theory has been used extensively as it offers a way to address the changing demands in a dynamic business environment. This study aims to use stakeholder theory to analyze corporate environmental behavior by Australian listed companies. Design/methodology/approach - By adopting Ullmann's three-dimensional framework comprising stakeholder power, strategic posture, and economic performance, an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model is developed. Three measures of stakeholder power are used: shareholder power (SP), creditor power, and government power (GP). Strategic posture is represented by the level of management's environmental concern (EC) and economic performance is proxied by the firm's return on assets (ROA). Using the 2002 Australian Conservation Foundation environmental performance ranking, the OLS model tests for any significant relationships between corporate environmental performance and the three components of the framework. Findings - The findings suggest that the level of ownership dispersion (SP), the industry sensitivity characterized by the increased governmental sanctions (GP) as well as the management's concern for the environment (EC) are the significant factors influencing the decision to incorporate superior environmental activities in corporate strategic plans. Measures of economic performance (ROA) show no significant relation with the firms' environmental performance. Likewise, suggestions that size and age of the firms could act as intervening variables are not supported by the results. Originality/value - The empirical results provide evidence that the application of stakeholder theory can contribute towards one's understanding of how corporate entities behave, particularly in adapting to the rapidly changing business environment where environmental issues are becoming increasingly important.

Suggested Citation

  • Evangeline Elijido-Ten, 2007. "Applying stakeholder theory to analyze corporate environmental performance: Evidence from Australian listed companies," Asian Review of Accounting, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 15(2), pages 164-184, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:arapps:v:15:y:2007:i:2:p:164-184

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hughes, Susan B. & Anderson, Allison & Golden, Sarah, 2001. "Corporate environmental disclosures: are they useful in determining environmental performance?," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 217-240.
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    8. Patten, Dennis M., 1992. "Intra-industry environmental disclosures in response to the Alaskan oil spill: A note on legitimacy theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 471-475, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. María del Mar Miras‐Rodríguez & Amalia Carrasco‐Gallego & Bernabé Escobar‐Pérez, 2015. "Are Socially Responsible Behaviors Paid Off Equally? A Cross‐cultural Analysis," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 22(4), pages 237-256, July.
    2. Binh Do & Ninh Nguyen, 2020. "The Links between Proactive Environmental Strategy, Competitive Advantages and Firm Performance: An Empirical Study in Vietnam," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(12), pages 1-22, June.
    3. Odia J.O. & Imagbe V.U., 2015. "Corporate Social and Environmental Disclosures, Corporate Social and Environmental Performance and Corporate Financial Performance in Nigeria: A Simultaneous Equation Approach," International Journal of Management Sciences, Research Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 5(9), pages 615-627.
    4. Marion Allet, 2014. "Why Do Microfinance Institutions Go Green? An Exploratory Study," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 405-424, July.
    5. María Luisa Pajuelo Moreno & Teresa Duarte-Atoche, 2019. "Relationship between Sustainable Disclosure and Performance—An Extension of Ullmann’s Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(16), pages 1-33, August.
    6. Rohaida Abdul Latif & Nurul Huda Yahya & Kamarun Nisham Taufil Mohd & Hasnah Kamardin & Arifatul Husna Mohd Ariffin, 2020. "The Influence of Board Diversity on Environmental Disclosures and Sustainability Performance in Malaysia," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 10(5), pages 287-296.
    7. Bikki Jaggi & Alessandra Allini & Riccardo Macchioni & Annamaria Zampella, 2018. "Do investors find carbon information useful? Evidence from Italian firms," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 50(4), pages 1031-1056, May.
    8. Joseph, Corina & Taplin, Ross, 2011. "The measurement of sustainability disclosure: Abundance versus occurrence," Accounting forum, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-31.


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