HCBE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Otto Chang

Committee Member

Richard Savich

Committee Member

Thomas E. Griffin


The purpose of this study was to explore users' and preparers' perception of sustainability reporting, especially for accountants and financial analysts who are involved with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and GRI based sustainability or CSR reports in the United States. With the increasing trends to sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), it is important to understand what level users and preparers currently hold towards the sustainability reporting. This study used samples from the following resources: all companies included in the GRI report list as a report preparer group and financial analysts as report users, whose companies' core business focused on social and environmental investing. This study examined four hypotheses concerning general corporate sustainability & reporting and sustainability performance indicators in environmental, economic and social aspects suggested by the GRI Guidelines.

This paper contributes to corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting. This paper studied users' perception of sustainability reporting and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Prior research mainly focused on preparers' perception or attitudes toward sustainability reports (Guthrie & Parker, 1990; Kolk, 2004; Lindgreen et al., 2009; White, 2005). Also, this paper adds to the literature on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and its guidelines that have not been extensively studied in prior research.

The results revealed that users and preparers agreed on the important issues asked for the general corporate sustainability and reporting, and both groups held similar attitudes towards the environmental, economic and social performance indicators and felt most of them as important to be included in a sustainability report. In addition, both groups indicated the GRI as the preferred standard setting body for sustainability reporting and gave support to GRI for its effort to establish and promote the standards for sustainability reporting. Finally, a considerable number of users and preparers agreed that the GRI report can fairly measure a company's environmental, economic and social performance.

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