Conference paper

Disclosures strategies by key bodies in the Australian mining industry in response to climate change: a test of legitimacy theory

12 Jul 2010

Purpose: This study explores how disclosure is used by key bodies in the Australian mining industry as a means to respond to the climate change and ensure their social licence to operate.

Design/methodology/approach: The study utilises the legitimacy theory framework and uses a multi-case analysis to examine the disclosure practices via a variety of media of two mining companies and two industry bodies.

Findings: It is revealed that a combination of legitimising strategies are undertaken by key bodies in Australia’s mining industry in response to the proposed ETS and climate change, however to differing degrees depending on the organisation. There is also support for the notion that different media plays a critical role in facilitating the legitimacy seeking behaviours of the companies and industry bodies.

Research Implications/Limitations: This study extends existing literature on legitimacy theory by highlighting the value of utilising this framework to explore contemporary phenomena such as corporate responses to climate change. The findings of this study have practical significance as they are expected to have important policy ramifications.

Originality/Value: One of the differentiating features of this paper, compared to prior studies utilising a legitimacy theory framework, is the examination of legitimising disclosure strategies at an industry level, which complements a company level analysis.

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