Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine what factors in addition to the needs of financial markets drive the voluntary disclosure practices of companies in Italy and in the United States. Design/methodology/approach – Information provided in the management discussion and analysis section of the annual reports of 72 companies was content analyzed to determine the volume and the quality of voluntary disclosures. Findings – Results show that in addition to investors' information needs, factors such as company emphasis on stakeholder management, relevance of intangible asset, and market complexity affect both the volume as well as the quality of voluntary disclosures. Research limitations/implications – The study is based on the voluntary disclosures made in a single year, which makes this study a snapshot. The size of the sample used in this study is relatively small. Future research aimed at examining country differences in voluntary disclosures made by companies needs to examine the business contexts in a comprehensive manner, so that differences observed across country boundaries can be adequately explained. Practical implications – The comprehensive framework developed in this study for organizing and evaluating voluntary disclosures is an initial step in the direction of examining voluntary disclosure from the stakeholder perspective. Originality/value – While results of this study confirm the findings of previous researchers, they also identify new drivers of voluntary disclosures and give some evidence about the similarity and differences in these factors across country contexts.
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 24, 2007
Keywords: Disclosure; Italy; United States of America
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