Abstract

The last five centuries have witnessed an increased power and spread of multinational corporations around the globe. This was coupled an increased calls for enhancing transparency and disclosure for this very important sector in the world economy. This paper aims to examine the influence of cultural values on reporting and disclosure practices of multinational corporations by utilizing the transparency index developed by Transparency International and examining the effect of Hofstede's six cultural values on the level of disclosure by multinational corporations. In addition to testing traditional cultural values' effect on disclosure, this study is the first, in accounting realm, to include the cultural dimension of indulgence. A hierarchical regression analysis is used to test the relationship between cultural values and the level of disclosure for the largest 122 multinational company operating in 23 countries. The transparency index developed by Transparency International in 2014 is used as a measure for the level of disclosure by multinational corporations. The independent variables were the cultural-dimensions scores measured Hofstede. The disclosure score for multinational corporations is regressed against the six cultural dimensions of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation, and indulgence. To account for the possible effect of the firm's size, as a possible intervening variable, a second statistical model was developed that includes the firm's size, measured by the total assets, was developed and tested. The main conclusion drawn is that to a varying extent, national culture has an effect on the level of disclosure by multinational corporations. Consistent with predicted direction, the cultural dimension of power distance is negatively associated with the level of disclosure by multinational corporations. However, contrary to what is expected in literature, uncertainty avoidance was found to be positively related, while masculinity is negatively related to the level of disclosure and transparency of multinational corporations. The study also finds that individualism, long-term ordination, and the new cultural dimension introduced by Hofstede, indulgence, are not significantly related to the level of disclosure by multinational corporations. The implications of such findings for multinational corporations' mangers include the recognition that they should not view the need to disclose information from the same cultural lenses and, therefore, more voluntary disclosure shall be provided.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-2278
Print ISSN
0022-037X
Pages
pp. 251-265
Launched on MUSE
2017-06-14
Open Access
No
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