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Selvanathan, P 2012, 'Identifying the key determinants of effective corporate sustainability reporting by Malaysian government-linked companies', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright P Selvanathan 2012


Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) underpin the Malaysian economy in areas including plantations, energy, transport, banking and utilities. As many are multinationals (MNCs), or becoming so, they face increasing pressure from global consumers and investors to report on the sustainability of their operations, products and services. Accordingly this research considered the problem of “identifying the key determinants of effective corporate sustainability reporting by Malaysian Government-Linked Companies”.

This research investigated whether GLCs have appropriate strategies, knowledge, resources, and organisational frameworks to report effectively; and if they are incentivized by Government to do so. The study used a two-stage mixed-methodology. The first qualitative and exploratory stage, using data collected from a literature review and a focus group, developed an initial theoretical model of what constitutes, drives and supports effective sustainability reporting. The second stage, quantitative and confirmatory, tested the theoretical model against the results of a web survey and analysis by structural equation modeling. The final model on attributes of effective reporting demonstrates that the challenges faced by GLCs are the mediating variable between their ability to report effectively and Government policy and incentives to do so.

A key recommendation of the research for Government is that sustainability reporting based on international standards should be made mandatory. For GLCs the recommendations are to develop a strategic business case; establish an organisational governance structure; install a system for managing sustainability; and focus on stakeholder-engagement for inputs and guidance.

This research has implications for MNCs from emerging economies seeking to attain, retain or develop competency in sustainability reporting to attract global investors, talent and gain access to export markets. It also has implications for developing country governments aiming to support their domestic and exporting industries by creating business-enabling environments and encouraging good business practices that meet international expectations.