Grameen Bank's social performance disclosure: Responding to a negative assessment by Wall Street Journal in late 2001
Muhammad Azizul Islam
Martin Reginald Mathews
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to establish a linkage between negative global media news towards Grameen Bank (GB), the largest microfinance organisation in the developing world, and the extent and type of annual report social performance disclosures by GB, over the nine-year period 1997-2005. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis instruments are utilised to analyse GB annual report social disclosure. Findings – The study finds that GB's community poverty alleviation disclosures account for the highest proportion of total social disclosures in the period 1997-2005. The results of this study are particularly significant in relation to poverty alleviation – the issue attracting severe criticism from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ?) late in 2001. The community poverty alleviation disclosures by GB are significantly greater over the four years following the negative news in the WSJ than in the four years before. The results suggest that GB responds to a negative media story or legitimacy threatening news via annual report social disclosures in an attempt to re-establish its legitimacy. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the literature because in the past there has been no research published linking global media attention to the social disclosure practices of major organisations in developing countries.
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