This chapter begins with an overall view of this study by providing summaries of the empirical findings from the various analyses carried out. It then proceeds with the discussion of the contributions of this study to the accounting research field in general and CSR in particular.
After that, this chapter also presents the implications of the findings of this study to the relevant regulatory authorities in their evaluation to the effectiveness of Silver Book requirement and to corporate reporting and transparency, as well as to the policy-makers and investment community. Finally, the limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are presented at the end of this chapter.
This study has examined the influence of the companies' resources on the extent of the CSR disclosures for three years from 2006 to 2008. The year 2006 was chosen to represent the year where companies were voluntarily disclosing CSR information in their annual reports. 2007 was also included as the government had implemented the mandatory disclosure requirement to all public listed companies in that year.
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Besides, 2007 also represented the year Malaysia faced the global economic crisis. Therefore, it was important to assess whether the companies had strategically used their corporate resources to engage in CSR activities to gain sustainable competitive advantages during this critical period. Finally, 2008 was the year after the implementation of the mandatory disclosure requirement in 2007 and was included to assess the effectiveness of the mandatory disclosure requirement.
The companies' resources which comprised tangible and intangible assets were analysed due to the companies' ability to gain sustainable competitive advantages when possessing a high amount of tangible and intangible assets and being socially responsible corporate citizens.
Summary of the Findings
This study provided empirical findings on the importance of tangible and intangible resources for companies to gain sustainable competitive advantages and the impact of regulatory disclosure requirements imposed by government through the Silver Book requirement which took effect in 2007. Besides, the pressure imposed by the government which required all public listed companies to make some CSR contribution to the stakeholders as framed in the Bursa Malaysia's framework has led to the drastic improvement in the CSR disclosures. The findings were revealed based on the descriptive statistics as well as the t-test analysis which were carried out to assess the statistical difference of the pre and post regulatory disclosure requirements.
In addition, the univariate test was carried out to examine the individual association among the CSR disclosures, each independent variable and ownership structures. After that, the hierarchical regressions analysis was conducted to examine the coefficient values across the different sub-population. Finally, the linear multiple regressions were conducted to further strengthen evidence of the increase in the CSR disclosures and the influence of the companies' resources on the extent of CSR disclosures among Malaysian public listed companies.
Bivariate tests were undertaken to test the relationship between the CSR disclosures and each of independent variables and control variables. Both the companies' resources were positively correlated to the extent of CSR disclosures for three years. This indicated that the higher the amount of intangible and tangible assets possessed by the companies, the more CSR information was disclosed (Galbreath, 2004; Vaaland & Heide, 2008; Udayasankar, 2008).
In addition, the bivariate test results showed that the interactions of government ownerships were associated with the relationship between intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures as well as the tangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures for the three sampled years. This was consistent with the previous CSR disclosure studies undertaken where the higher percentage of shares owned by the government, the more likely the government would influence companies to participate in CSR activities and make the appropriate disclosure in their annual reports in order to achieve the government's objectives to enhance national welfare towards societies, employees, customers and suppliers community as well as the environment (Mohd Ghazali, 2007; Xiou & Yuan, 2007; Amran & Devi, 2008; Ying et al., 2008l; Said et al., 2009).
In contrast, the inconsistent correlations of the interactions of family ownerships with the relationship between intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures were found across the three sampled years and a correlation was not found in 2006. However, the correlation improved in 2007 where the bivariate test showed that family ownerships had a negative association with intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures. In 2008, the family interaction was not found to have any significant association with the tested relationship.
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In addition, the inconsistent results of the interactions of family ownerships were also revealed with the relationship between tangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures. A negative correlation was found in 2006 and 2007. However, no correlation was found in 2008. This indicated that the higher the percentage of family ownerships, the lower the CSR disclosures were made. However, the family ownerships were less likely to reduce the extent of the CSR disclosures due to the mandatory disclosure requirement implemented in 2007.
Furthermore, the results from the univariate tests showed that the extent of the CSR disclosures was significantly associated with each individual independent variable. The results indicated that the availability of intangible assets or tangible assets had influenced companies to do CSR disclosures without any interaction from other variables. Besides, the same results were found for both the family and government ownership structures whereby the family ownerships were negatively associated with the extent of CSR disclosure made by the companies whereas government ownerships had a positive association.
In addition, the hierarchical regression results showed that in Model 1, only the ROA was positively associated with the extent of CSR disclosure for three years. No significant results were found for leverage under this model. However, leverage and ROA seemed to have a significant association with the presence of intangible and tangible assets under Model 2. Besides that, the intangible assets were found to have a significant positive relationship with the extent of CSR disclosures only in 2007. In contrast, tangibles assets were found to have a strong association with the extent of CSR disclosures in all the three sampled years for Model 2. This implied that the availability of resources had encouraged companies to do CSR disclosures.
In addition, when the family and government ownerships were taken into consideration as the mediating variables in Model 3, the results revealed an insignificant result for the relationship between intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures in 2006. This might have been due to the lowest amount of intangible assets possessed by public listed companies in 2006 as compared to in 2007 and 2008. The previous studies have proven that intangible assets such as specific capabilities and skills of the employees which were difficult to imitate could lead companies to achieve efficient and effectiveness in performance (Galbreath, 2005; Ainuddin et al., 2007). Besides, the intangible assets were also the important driver of competitive advantages than tangible assets (Branco & Rodrigues, 2006; Ainuddin et al., 2007) but the difficulties in measuring the values of those type of assets have made some sampled companies lack this asset in their accounts.
However, after the government took the initiative to make CSR disclosures as a mandatory disclosure in 2007, the significance relationship between intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures was discovered in 2007 and 2008. This has proven that the availability of adequate intangible resources (Haron et al., 2004; Udayasankar, 2008; Vaaland & Heide, 2008) which came together with the mandatory disclosure requirement had led to the increase in the extent of the CSR disclosures among Malaysian public listed companies in 2007 and 2008. This further highlighted the importance of intangible resources as strategic tools behind the investment in CSR activities especially during the economic crisis in 2007 to gain sustainability.
Moreover, the study also revealed a significant positive relationship between tangible resources and the extent of CSR disclosures in 2006 and 2007. This indicated that the companies which had strategically used their tangible assets to invest in CSR activities during the economic crisis successfully faced the hard time as well as obtained competitive advantages for the companies' survival.
The relationship between tangible assets and the extent of the CSR disclosures has improved from the previous year where a significant positive relationship was found in 2008. This inferred that companies were able to strategically use their corporate resources especially tangible assets to recoup from the global economic crisis. The availability of tangible assets had become an important device to encourage companies to participate in CSR activities (Craig & Diga, 1998) and gain sustainable competitive advantage over their competitors (Fahy, 2002; Galbreath, 2005).
The government ownership was not found to have a significant interaction with the relationship between intangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures for the three sampled years. This was a result of the implementation of the Silver Book requirement to improve the extent of CSR disclosures in Malaysia. This implied that the availability of intangible assets had superseded the role of the government in encouraging other public listed companies to follow the lead of GLCs to disclose CSR information in the annual reports (Arshad et al., 2010).
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However, the interaction of government ownership with the relationship between tangible assets and the extent of CSR disclosures was found to have a significant association in 2006 and 2008 but no significant relationship in 2007. The significant results were consistent with those in previous studies (Mohd Ghazali, 2007; Ying et al., 2008; Amran & Devi, 2008; Darus et al., 2009) which suggested that GLCs had the responsibilities towards the societies' welfare and made appropriate disclosures in their annual reports. The reduction in the amount of tangible assets in 2007 might have been due to the negative impact of the global economic crisis which led to the insignificant result in 2007. This was inconsistent with that of Haron et al. (2004) who argued that the government owned companies had received financial assistance from the government in order to run their businesses for survival and with continuity purposes during the economic crisis.
Furthermore, the family interaction on tangible assets and CSR disclosure relationship was significant in 2006. This was consistent with that of Mohd Ghazali (2007) and Darus et al. (2009) and further proved that family members on the board tended to collaborate in minimising the huge amount of money invested in CSR activities in order to achieve their goals to maximise shareholders' wealth. However, no significant result was found in 2007 and 2008. This could be due to the competing needs of resources for companies' growth and sustainability in 2007 in order to remain sustainable during the economic crisis. The government assistance during the critical period (Haron et al., 2004) as well as the mandatory disclosure requirement (Darus et al, 2009) brought the awareness that participating in CSR activities and disclosure was a way to remain competitive and gain sustainability in the industry.
In addition, this study did not find that family ownership had a significant negative interaction between intangible assets and CSR disclosures in 2006. The results implied that the existence of family members on the board did not affect the decision on the CSR activities in 2006. This was due to the mandatory disclosure requirement implemented by the government. Therefore, CSR disclosure was made in order to comply with the requirement.
In contrast, a significant result was revealed in 2007. This reflected that companies with higher family members who sat on the board protected the internal information exposed to the outside parties by reducing the extent of the CSR disclosures (Imam, 2000; Belal, 2001; Haniffa & Cooke, 2002; Mohd Ghazali, 2007; Darus et al., 2009; Lopez-Iturriaga et al., 2009).
The family interaction weakened in 2008 which entailed that family companies increased the extent of CSR disclosures and it almost double from 2007's disclosure. This was probably due to the increase awareness about the importance of the CSR disclosures for the companies' development and growth during the economic crisis (Haron et al., 2004) and as a result of the government's efforts in promoting CSR (Rashid & Lodh, 2008; Darus et al., 2009). This finding appeared to suggest that corporate resources especially tangible assets had a significant impact to the extent of the CSR disclosures regardless of the interaction of family and government ownership structures.
Implications of this Study
This study contributed to the CSR disclosure literature by examining the relationship between the companies' resources and the interaction effect of ownership structures with the extent of CSR disclosures which was rarely studied before. It was important to examine the level of resources and CSR disclosures in 2007 due to the global economic crisis. During this crisis period, most of the companies all over the world kept on changing their strategies to minimise the costs in order to remain sustainable in the market.
Furthermore, this study proceeded to make contributions to the CSR research literature by testing the hypotheses from the combination of two different perspectives which were resource-based theory and agency theory. The tangible and intangible assets were tested to examine the relationship with the extent of the CSR disclosures. This was because previous studies found the evidence that the tangible and intangible assets were the main drivers of the companies' success and helped companies achieve the sustainable competitive advantages. Besides, the interaction of the family and government ownerships governed under the agency theory provided further understanding of the strong influence of tangible and intangible assets on the extent of CSR disclosures which had weaken the interaction of family owners.
Additionally, the findings of this study can provide additional information to the regulatory bodies regarding the other factors which could influence the extent of the CSR activities and disclosures among the public listed companies. Even though the mandatory disclosure regulation imposed in 2007 was proven to encourage companies to disclose, the lack of available resources disrupted the ability to invest money in any CSR activities and make appropriate disclosures especially during the global economic crisis in 2007.
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research
There are some limitations to this study. First, this study only focused on CSR disclosures in the annual reports to measure the extent of the CSR disclosures of the sampled companies. There were some other methods of CSR disclosures used by companies for example through companies' websites, in-house magazines and newspapers. Therefore, the researcher may consider other forms of CSR disclosures for future research.
Second, the research instrument used in this study was content analysis to gather the information on CSR disclosures. In-depth interviews with the companies' managers and questionnaires could be used to understand to what extent the corporate resources would influence their CSR activities and disclosures. Thus, these types of instruments may be considered for future research.