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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14677
CSR reports and company characteristics: 50 biggest companies in Finland
Author: Arhe, Hanna
Title: CSR reports and company characteristics: 50 biggest companies in Finland
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: yritykset; companies; vastuu; responsibility; sosiaalinen vastuu; social responsibility
Pages: 106
Key terms: Corporate social responsibility (CSR); CSR disclosing; CSR communication; CSR dimensions; CSR performance
Objective of the Study: The purpose of this thesis is to examine Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting in Finnish companies. Since the companies are acting in various industries, the focus is on CSR and CSR reporting in the cross-industry context. The focus of this study is on environmental and social aspects of CSR. The purpose of this thesis is to understand how the firm characteristics are associated with CSR communication in Finland. Those characteristics consist of profitability, visibility in media, shareholder structure, firm size and industry membership. Furthermore, this study concentrates on companies' annual reports, CSR reports and sustainability reports.

Theory and Methods: The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on previous literature on CSR, CSR reporting and firm characteristics. The hypotheses are designed based on existing academic literature, and these are tested quantitatively by correlation analysis in the empirical part. Correlation indicate the association of firm characteristics and CSR disclosing. The primary assumption is that firm characteristics affect CSR disclosing. The correlation facilitates identification of relationships between variables. The sample for the thesis is gathered based on the company profitability rating in year 2013 published by "Talouselämä", the Finnish economic magazine. All the reports are hand-collected at company websites, and the actual data consists word amounts of relevant keywords according to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. The word counts are conducted through content analysis of the companies' CSR information. The unit of analysis used in content analysis is one term (consisting one or more words). Due to small data the analysis is based on simple statistical methods.

Findings and Conclusion: The overall findings suggest that in Finnish context firm characteristics are associated with CSR reporting practices, which is in line with previous literature. Firm factors in common, having positive correlation on CSR disclosing in this study, were visibility and firm size (1). In the sample excluding financial companies, the correlation for firm size was higher and also ownership structure and profitability were associated with CSR-reporting (2). Additionally, it seems that ownership structure and firm size have more important role on CSR reporting in the industrial companies than in the service companies (3). All in all, this thesis contributes to generating academic knowledge on how CSR is currently related to firm characteristics in cross-industry context. In addition, the findings will assist to further study the relation between firm characteristics and CSR disclosing in Finland. However, it should be taken into account that the results of CSR studies have deviations due to many reasons, such as the multidimensional nature of CSR, the variety of companies and the voluntariness of CSR decision.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.