Corporate internet reporting, firm characteristics, corporate governance and firm financial performance of Saudi listed companies
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The increasing use of the internet has created a new opportunity for companies to disseminate different types of information to their current and potential investors via the internet. This type of voluntary disclosure, Corporate Internet Reporting (CIR), can improve the disclosure quality and the transparency to satisfy all users’ needs. Furthermore, corporate governance has attracted considerable global attention, especially after the collapses that have occurred in the financial markets. Recently, a growing interest has evolved in exploring corporate governance in emerging markets due to the increased demand for transparency by stakeholders. To provide new insights, this study aims to explore the extent of CIR, examine its relationship with some corporate governance and firm characteristics variables, and to determine the impact of CIR on firm financial performance. These associations are investigated by employing a quantitative method dependant on a multi-theoretical framework. The study uses a self-constructed disclosure index, which includes 196 items, to measure the CIR of 170 Saudi listed companies. The findings indicate that the level of CIR is, on average, moderate compared to their counterparts in developed countries. Further, the empirical results reveal that firms which are large in size, with low liquidity rate, distribute dividends, have board which is meet less frequently and have less independent members in the audit committee are more likely to have high CIR level. In addition, the results indicate that firm growth, leverage, industry type, audit type, board size, board independence, role duality, block holder ownership, directors ownership, institutional ownership, government ownership, audit committee size and audit committee frequency of meeting appear to be insignificant predictors for CIR total. However, the findings show that the significance of these variables varies among the CIR components: content, presentation, timeliness, usability and audit. Finally, it is statistically evident that CIR has no significant impact on firm financial performance in Saudi listed companies. These findings suggest that further effort is required to enhance the awareness of good corporate governance and that other variables may be more relevant to CIR in the Saudi context.
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