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Human resource disclosures in UK corporate annual reports: To what extent do these reflect organisational priorities towards labour?

Vithana, Krishanthi and Soobaroyen, Teerooven and Ntim, Collins G (2019) 'Human resource disclosures in UK corporate annual reports: To what extent do these reflect organisational priorities towards labour?' Journal of Business Ethics. ISSN 1382-6891

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Abstract

Our study analyses the nature, quality and extent of human resource disclosures (HRDs) of UK Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 firms by relying on a novel disclosure index measuring the depth and breadth of disclosures. Contextually, we focus on the five-year period following the then Labour government’s attempts to encourage firms to formally report on their human resource management practices and to foster deeper employer-employee engagement. First, we evaluate the degree to which companies report comprehensively (or substantively) on a number of HRD items that we classify as “procedural” or “sustainable.” Second, we hypothesise that a company’s employee relation ideology (using a proxy to measure a company’s level of “unitarism”) is positively associated with HRD. Our results indicate that: (i) whilst there has been an increase in the breadth of HRD in terms of procedural and sustainable items being disclosed, the evolution towards a more comprehensive and in-depth form of HRD remains rather limited; and (ii) there is a positive association between a company’s employee relation ideology (unitarism) and the level of HRD. Theoretically, we conceive of HRD both as a reflection of an organisation’s orientation towards a key stakeholder (unitarist relations with labour) and a legitimacy seeking exercise at a time of changing societal conditions. We contribute to the scant literature on the extent and determinants of HRD since prior research tends to subsume employee-related disclosures within the broader concept of social, ethical or intellectual capital disclosures. We also propose a disclosure checklist to underpin future HRD research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human resource disclosure, Employee relation ideology, Stakeholder theory, Legitimacy theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2019 10:42
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2019 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25376

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