Charles H. Cho
Other affiliations: Concordia University, ESSEC Business School, Illinois State University ...read more
Bio: Charles H. Cho is an academic researcher from York University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Corporate social responsibility & Environmental accounting. The author has an hindex of 27, co-authored 85 publications receiving 5525 citations. Previous affiliations of Charles H. Cho include Concordia University & ESSEC Business School.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: In this paper, Al-Tuwaijri et al. used size-matched groups based on industry membership and environmental performance (worse performers versus better performers) to test for differences in the use of monetary and non-monetary non-litigation related environmental disclosure.
Abstract: Legitimacy theory suggests companies with poorer environmental performance would be expected to provide more extensive off-setting or positive environmental disclosures in their financial reports. However, recent investigations of the performance/disclosure relation [Al-Tuwaijri, S. A., Christensen, T. E., & Hughes II, K. E. (2004). The relations among environmental disclosure, environmental performance, and economic performance: a simultaneous equations approach. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 29, 447–471; Hughes, S. B., Anderson, A., & Golden, S. (2001). Corporate environmental disclosures: are they useful in determining environmental performance? Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 20, 217–240; Hughes, S. B., Sander, J. F., & Reier, J. C. (2000). Do environmental disclosures in US annual reports differ by environmental performance? Advances in Environmental Accounting and Management, 141–161; Patten, D. M. (2002). The relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: a research note. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 27, 763–773] report mixed results. In this study, we use size-matched groups based on industry membership (environmentally sensitive versus non-environmentally sensitive) and environmental performance (worse performers versus better performers, based on data from KLD Research and Analytics, Inc.) to test for differences in the use of monetary and non-monetary non-litigation related environmental disclosure. Results indicate that the use of monetary and non-monetary components of the non-litigation related environmental disclosure varies across groups. In general, the findings provide additional support for the argument that companies use disclosure as a legitimizing tool.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigate whether there are self-serving biases present in the language and verbal tone used in corporations' environmental disclosures, and find empirical support for both hypotheses using a cross-sectional sample of corporate environmental disclosures contained in US 10-K annual reports.
Abstract: We rely on prior work in environmental disclosure and corporate impression management to investigate whether there are self-serving biases present in the language and verbal tone used in corporations’ environmental disclosures. Specifically, we argue that the degree of bias in these narratives varies systematically based on firm environmental performance, hypothesizing that disclosures of worse environmental performers exhibit significantly more “optimism” and less “certainty” than their better-performing counterparts. We test our two hypotheses using a cross-sectional sample of corporate environmental disclosures contained in US 10-K annual reports. Utilizing the content analysis software DICTION to determine “optimism” and “certainty” scores for the disclosures, we find empirical support for both hypotheses. Our study contributes significantly to research in environmental disclosure by investigating bias in the use of language and verbal tone as a tool for managing stakeholder impressions and by finding empirical support for this role. Thus, the language and verbal tone used in corporate environmental disclosures, in addition to their amount and thematic content, should be considered when investigating the relation between corporate disclosure and performance.
TL;DR: In this paper, the extent to which firms' environmental performance is reflected in perceptions of their environmental reputation and whether environmental disclosure serves to mediate the negative aspects of poorer environmental performance associated with those assessments was investigated.
Abstract: In this study, we investigate the extent to which firms’ environmental performance is reflected in perceptions of their environmental reputation and whether environmental disclosure serves to mediate the negative aspects of poorer environmental performance associated with those assessments. We also examine whether differences in environmental performance and environmental disclosure appear to be associated with membership selection to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), a factor we also believe may be associated with perceptions of environmental reputation. Based on a cross-sectional sample of 92 US firms from environmentally sensitive industries, we find that environmental performance measured using Trucost environmental performance scores is negatively related to both reputation scores and membership in the DJSI. We argue this is due to the more extensive disclosure levels of firms that are worse performers and the finding of a significant positive relation between environmental disclosure and both the environmental reputation measures and DJSI membership. Finally, we show that the DJSI designation positively influences perceptions of corporate reputation. Overall, our results suggest that voluntary environmental disclosure appears to mediate the effect of poor environmental performance on environmental reputation. Perhaps more troubling, our results also suggest that membership in the DJSI appears to be driven more by what firms say than what they do. Thus, like voluntary disclosure, the DJSI may actually be hindering improved future corporate environmental performance.
TL;DR: The authors argue that contradictory societal and institutional pressures, in essence, require organizations to engage in hypocrisy and develop facades, thereby severely limiting the prospects that sustainability reports will ever evolve into substantive disclosures.
Abstract: Sustainability discourse is becoming ubiquitous. Still, a significant gap persists between corporate sustainability talk and practice. Prior research on corporate sustainability reporting has relied primarily on two competing theoretical framings, signaling theory and legitimacy theory, which often produce contradictory results regarding the significance and effects of such disclosures. Thus, despite this substantial body of research, the role that sustainability disclosures can play in any transition toward a less unsustainable society remains unclear. In an effort to advance our collective understanding of voluntary corporate sustainability reporting, we propose a richer and more nuanced theoretical lens by drawing on prior work in organized hypocrisy (Brunsson, 1989) and organizational facades (Abrahamson & Baumard, 2008; Nystrom & Strabuck, 1984). We argue that contradictory societal and institutional pressures, in essence, require organizations to engage in hypocrisy and develop facades, thereby severely limiting the prospects that sustainability reports will ever evolve into substantive disclosures. To illustrate the use of these theoretical concepts, we employ them to examine the talk, decisions, and actions of two highly visible U.S.-based multinational oil and gas corporations during the time period of significant national debate over oil exploration in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. We conclude that the concepts of organizational facade and organized hypocrisy are beneficial to the sustainability disclosure literature because they provide theoretical space to more formally acknowledge and incorporate how the prevailing economic system and conflicting stakeholder demands constrain the action choices of individual corporations.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a case study examining the environmental disclosure decisions and practices of Total SA (hereafter, Total), one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world.
Abstract: This paper presents a case study examining the environmental disclosure decisions and practices of Total SA (hereafter, Total), one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world. Because the company has a substantial international presence and operates in environmentally sensitive industries, management is constantly exposed to ethical and social issues. The company faced two major environment-related disasters: (1) the sinking of the Erika tanker, leading to a major oil spill along the Atlantic coast of Bretagne in 1999; and (2) the 2001 deadly explosion of the AZF chemical plant in the suburb of Toulouse, France. In this case study I aim at investigating the strategies employed by Total to defend and downplay its environmental performance and activities related to these incidents. The case is framed within legitimacy theory, originating from the notion of a ‘social contract’ between organizations and society. Findings generally indicate that Total used communication strategies to legitima...
01 Jan 2008
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that rational actors make their organizations increasingly similar as they try to change them, and describe three isomorphic processes-coercive, mimetic, and normative.
Abstract: What makes organizations so similar? We contend that the engine of rationalization and bureaucratization has moved from the competitive marketplace to the state and the professions. Once a set of organizations emerges as a field, a paradox arises: rational actors make their organizations increasingly similar as they try to change them. We describe three isomorphic processes-coercive, mimetic, and normative—leading to this outcome. We then specify hypotheses about the impact of resource centralization and dependency, goal ambiguity and technical uncertainty, and professionalization and structuration on isomorphic change. Finally, we suggest implications for theories of organizations and social change.