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Conflict diamonds, legitimacy and media agenda: an examination of annual report disclosures

  • Shaun Watson
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the voluntary annual report disclosures, relating to conflict diamonds, for four of the largest diamond mining companies operating in South Africa can be explained through applying legitimacy theory and media agenda-setting theory. Design/methodology/approach – Applying legitimacy theory under the assumption of media agenda-setting theory, the study draws a comparison between the volume of disclosure relating to conflict diamonds made in the annual reports of four of the largest diamond mining companies operating in South Africa and the volume of South African media publications addressing conflict diamonds. Findings – The results of the study suggest that changes in the degree of media attention relating to the issue of conflict diamonds are largely mirrored by the annual report disclosure by one firm, but not by the other firms in the sample. Hence, legitimation motives lend support for only one of the four firms. Research limitations/implications – It should be noted that in relying upon legitimacy theory to examine variations in voluntary annual report disclosures regarding conflict diamonds, the study does not invalidate the likelihood that other theories, such as stakeholder theory or political economy theory, for example, may also hold explanatory power. Originality/value – No prior research combining legitimacy theory and media agenda theory to explain voluntary disclosure of conflict diamonds by South African diamond mining companies could be found.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Meditari Accountancy Research.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 94-111

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:medapp:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:94-111
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    1. Aerts, Walter & Cormier, Denis, 2009. "Media legitimacy and corporate environmental communication," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-27, January.
    2. Neu, D. & Warsame, H. & Pedwell, K., 1998. "Managing public impressions: environmental disclosures in annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 265-282, April.
    3. Cho, Charles H. & Patten, Dennis M., 2007. "The role of environmental disclosures as tools of legitimacy: A research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 639-647.
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