The Main Aim Of Businesses Was To Generate Profits Besides Maximising The Shareholders Accounting Essay

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A few decades back, the main aim of businesses was to generate profits besides maximising the shareholders wealth without being concerned about the importance of the stakeholders to the businesses' sustainability (Mohamed Zain, 2009). An awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to the companies' sustainability has been developed over the years. As a result, companies nowadays have become good corporate citizens by sharing their profits with other stakeholders (Amran & Devi, 2008; Darus, Arshad, & Othman, 2009; Haron, Yahya, Chambers, Manasseh, & Ismail, 2004; Mohd Ghazali, 2007)

After that, the CSR comes into play. The companies have considered human resources as the most valuable assets. Hence they properly manage the benefits of their employees (Mohamed Zain, 2009) Besides, companies have also given the highest attention to the welfare of communities as a way to give back to the society for its continuous support(Mohamed Zain & Janggu, 2006). Customer services are improved in order to enhance the customers' level of satisfaction with the companies' products and continue their support. They also consider environmental issues in their daily operations to ensure that a safe planet is left for the future generations(Mohamed Zain, 2009). Every company defines and views CSR differently according to its own perspective. It depends on how the companies view the importance of the stakeholders to their survival. (Gray, Owen, & Maunders, 1987) defined social reporting as: "the process of communicating social and environmental effects of the organisations' economic actions to particular interest groups within the society and to society at large. As such, it involves extending the accountability of organisations (particularly companies), beyond the traditional role of providing a financial account to the owners of capital, in particular, shareholders. Such an extension is predicted upon the assumption that companies do have wider responsibilities than simply make money for their shareholders" (page number).

In Malaysia, CSR has developed slowly as a result of internal and external pressures. The study that has been carried out by (Janggu, Joseph, & Madi, 2007) to investigate the interaction between CSR and financial performance in Malaysia found that the level of the CSR disclosures and practices in Malaysia have increased in terms of the amount of the disclosures and the practices. Therefore, most of the companies have realised the benefits of practicing the CSR activities and its disclosures.

Problem Statement


However, in the economic difficulties as a result of the global economic crisis which began in 2007, most of the companies have been struggling to enhance the efficiency of their production in order to improve their financial performance. Every company in all industries keeps challenging each other in producing the most innovative products in order to remain sustainable in the market (Lin, Yang, & Liou, 2009). Some of these companies even practice using the management accounting tools in identifying the non-value added activities to manage better cost in order to increase profits. Therefore, they decide to spend a lot of money to employ the best marketing strategies in attracting the customers to buy their products rather than invest in the CSR activities since all those activities involve an outflow of the companies' money (Vaaland & Heide, 2008).

This is true especially in the family ownership structures when the companies are managed by the owners themselves. The public are less likely to have a big interest to look into the operations and the activities of these types of companies as compared to the public firm. Previous studies have proven that the family ownership companies were less likely to disclose the CSR information in the annual reports as compared to the government ownership structures (Darus et al., 2009; Mohd Ghazali, 2007).

The Importance of the Study

The limited resources of the companies due to the economic recession have put the CSR disclosures at the critical point in decision making. Most of the companies today have even discontinued some production lines which have led to the retrenchment of a large amount of their employees in order for them to survive and remain competitive. As such, the CSR activities do not contribute to their sustainability and those activities are viewed negatively which has led the reduction of their level of profitability.

Therefore, the study on the relationship of the companies' resources and the extent of the CSR disclosures are important to assess whether corporate resources have been used as a strategic tool to gain the sustainable competitive advantages during the economic crisis especially with the interaction from family members in the CSR decision.

Besides, this is to ensure that the implementation of the mandatory disclosure requirements in 2007 is not only in the form but also the substance of it. The companies must fully understand that the concept of the CSR is to share the companies' wealth with the societies at large.

Motivation from Previous Studies.

The researchers of previous studies have examined the relationship between the CSR disclosures and the firm's performance and the results are varied. Some of them found a positive relationship between both of them based on the stakeholder theory (Arago´ n-Correa et al., 2008; Nicolau, 2008; Bird et al., 2007; Orlitzky et al., 2003) as quoted by (Kang, Lee, & Huh, 2009). Some other researchers have found that CSR disclosures have jeopardised the firm's profitability (Waddock & Graves, 1997; Preston and O'Bannon, 1997; Smith et al., 2007).

Furthermore, the relationship between CSR disclosures and corporate governance characteristics such as board size, independent non-executive directors, CEO duality and Audit Committee, and ownership structures is most likely to be examined by the researchers (Said, Zainuddin, & Haron, 2009). Most of them focused on the relationship between CSR disclosures and ownership structures like the ownership concentration, the managerial, the government, the foreign, the institutional and the family ownerships and the results are varied (Barako, 2007; Mohd Ghazali, 2007; Rashid & Lodh, 2008; Xiao & Yuan, 2007).

Besides that, some of them have found that family owned companies were less likely to disclose the CSR in the annual reports as compared to the Government-Linked Companies (Mohd Ghazali, 2007). This is supported by (Xiao & Yuan, 2007) who found that managerial, state and legal person ownership were likely to be associated with the CSR disclosures and only block holder ownership and foreign shares ownership have given the other direction. In contrast, (Lopez-Iturriaga, Lopez-de-Foronda, & Martin-Cruz, 2009) who analysed European firms found that the family ownership structure companies were more prone to CSR as compared to others.

However, a small group of researchers examined the relationship between the companies' resources and CSR disclosures based on the resource dependency theory (Branco & Rodrigues, 2006). As such, this study fulfills the gap by examining the relationship between the companies' resources and CSR disclosures based on the resource dependency theory in order to study the roles of resources and capabilities in the economic crisis in carrying out the CSR towards the environment, employees, customers and the community at large.

Objectives of the Study

The two main objectives of this study are as follows:

To examine whether the level of the companies' resources which consist of tangible assets and intangible assets influence the extent of the CSR disclosures made by the companies.

To examine whether the ownership structures (family ownership and government ownership) moderate the relationship between the resources of the companies and the extent of the CSR disclosures.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study are expected to provide some contribution to the the accounting research literature, regulatory bodies and public listed companies as well as interested readers. The first contribution is to the accounting research literature since there is a lack of research conducted especially on the importance of the companies' resources in motivating the CSR activities and disclosures based on the resource-based theory. Therefore, this study is hoped to contribute to the expansion of knowledge on the field with the current research findings and information.

Secondly, the findings of this study perhaps will provide additional information to the regulatory bodies regarding the other factors which can influence the extent of the CSR activities. This information can also be used by the regulatory bodies to make the right evaluation regarding the effectiveness of the mandatory disclosure requirement implemented in 2007.

Thirdly, this study is also carried out with the intention of creating awareness among the Malaysian Public Listed Companies on the importance of CSR activities to their companies through the strategic use and combination of resources which can lead to the sustainable competitive advantages.

Finally, the issue of the global economic crisis which is presented in this study could be recognised as the current situation in Malaysia; therefore, researchers and readers who have the interest in the field could read this research to add value to their existing knowledge.

Organization of the Study

The remainder of this study is organised as follows. In the next section, the background of CSR disclosures in Malaysia will be discussed to give an overall view of their extent to date. Following that, the literature review from previous studies regarding resource-based theory, agency theory, the tangible and intangible resources, CSR disclosures and ownership structures are sited. Next, the research methodology of the study is discussed. After that, the results from the descriptive statistics, t-test, univariate analysis, hierarchical regressions and multivariate analysis are presented and analysed followed by the conclusion and limitations of the study which suggests some important notes for future research.