The impact of audit committee characteristics on corporate social responsibility disclosure

  1. Dwekat, Aladdin
Supervised by:
  1. Guillermina Tormó Carbó Director
  2. Elies Seguí Mas Director

Defence university: Universitat Politècnica de València

Fecha de defensa: 20 July 2021

  1. María Antonia García Benau Chair
  2. José Manuel Vela Bargues Secretary
  3. Isabel María García Sánchez Committee member

Type: Thesis


This thesis fills the literature gap by examining the effect of Audit Committee (AC) and board characteristics on Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure (CSRD) in four interrelated articles. The first article presents a full picture of the board-CSR field using two methodologies: bibliometric and social network analysis. Thus, it maps the knowledge of preceding works and suggests new avenues for future investigations to connect board characteristics, Corporate Social Responsibility Performance (CSRP), and CSRD. This article analysed 242 articles published on Web of Science database (WoS) journals (1992- 2019). The second article reviewed the previous board-CSR literature by applying a content analysis method. By doing so, this article offers a novel picture of the most critical drivers of CSRP/CSRD and provide constructive suggestions to guide future research. The first and second articles' main results suggest that little research on the board and CSR field have studied other board variables such as AC characteristics. In addition to that, CSR strategies are forming from several combinations of the board attributes and consider one dimension to be insufficient to generate an effective strategy. In this context, it must be pointed out that there is more than one best possible characteristics combination to achieve higher levels of CSRD. Therefore, building on the first and second articles, the third article examines the effect of AC and board characteristics on CSRD by applying a novel research methodology (fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis). Furthermore, responding to the second article recommendations to further examine the link between board characteristics and the decisions to obtain Corporate Social Responsibility Assurance (CSRA) report, the fourth article test the effect of AC attributes on the adoption of CSRA. The third article used a sample of the top 69 non-financial European companies for 2016-2018. In comparison, the fourth article used a sample of European companies listed on STOXX Europe 600 over 2011-2018. Our first and second articles indicate that board characteristics have a significant and increasing impact on CSR literature. The results also revealed that the board practices play a crucial role in managing CSRP/CSRD-related issues. The findings also identify the effect of the critical board characteristics on CSRP, CSRD quantity, and CSRD quality. Furthermore, our outcomes provide an overarching picture of the patterns and trends of the systematic nexus between board characteristics and CSRP/CSRD quality and quantity. The findings also draw potential future avenues for research in the field regarding research gaps. Furthermore, our results suggest some potential areas of interest for future political reforms of board of directors' guidelines. The third article suggests that CSRD relies on a complex configuration of some AC attributes, for example, independence, financial expert member, chair independence, size and activity, and other board characteristics. These characteristics play a leading part as a recipe ingredient and, in an appropriate combination, promote achieving high CSRD levels. Our empirical results offer multidimensional and valuable insights for professionals, regulators, and policymakers in establishing and revising the guidelines regarding the AC and board of directors' composition. In line with the complementary role of CG and AC mechanisms suggested by prior literature, our fourth article finds that AC attributes related to AC financial expert, AC independence and size of AC, and the existence of CSR committee are positively linked with the adoption of CSRA. However, our empirical analysis further indicates that AC with a higher percentage of financial expert members tends to choose higher assurance scopes.