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Corporate communication as a governance mechanism: A content analysis of corporate public disclosures

Sam Kolahgar, Azadeh Babaghaderi, Harjeet S. Bhabra
Published: 15 June 2021

Abstract: Corporate communication efforts have mainly been viewed as a by-product of governmental regulations and board of directors’ oversight. In this paper, we examine the role of corporate communication as a stand-alone governance mechanism. We introduce a new business-related dictionary and conduct automated textual analysis of over 150,000 electronic documents filed by a sample of firms listed on the S&P/TSX Composite Index from 1999 to the end of 2014. Our findings demonstrate the governing role of corporate communication by documenting the adverse market effects of deviations from the expected level of communication. Moreover, as a governance mechanism, corporate communication shows substitution/complementary relationships with other established governance mechanisms. In addition, we find a non-linear relationship between a firm’s communication efforts and its value and risk levels. Results are robust after controlling for major corporate events (M&A, spin-offs, financial distress and bankruptcy, and significant lawsuits). These findings contribute to corporate governance literature and the understanding of agency theory predictions of communications and disclosures’ economic effects
Keywords: governance mechanism / corporate governance / communication efforts / documenting / corporate communication / disclosures / role of corporate

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