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The level of voluntary disclosure by Malaysian listed family-controlled companies

The purpose of this research is to develop a best practice framework of voluntary disclosure for family-controlled companies in Malaysia. This study identifies the level of voluntary disclosure by Malaysian listed family-controlled companies, and reviews and discusses the voluntary disclosure practices in Malaysia from the perspectives of stakeholders. The study contends that the level of voluntary disclosure practices by listed family-controlled companies is lower than that of nonfamily-controlled companies. It is found that factors such as family ownership structure and values are the main influences that contribute to the level of voluntary disclosure in listed family-controlled companies’ annual reports. Malaysian listed family-controlled companies’ decision to disclose voluntarily is not only complex but also is influenced by the family’s governance structure and relationships. This situation accounts for the differences in the level of voluntary disclosure between family-controlled companies and other listed companies. This study adopts a mixed methods approach (i.e., quantitative and qualitative methodology) in order to achieve its objectives. A voluntary disclosure index consisting of 61 items is developed using a Delphi process with 40 panel members. The index is then applied on to 30 Malaysian listed companies’ annual reports for the years 2009-2013. The collected data is quantified and analysed to determine the differing levels of voluntary disclosure practices between family-controlled and nonfamily-controlled companies. In addition, factors that might influence the level of voluntary disclosure in the companies’ annual reports are examined. Taking a qualitative approach, 41 corporate managers are interviewed to identify their experiences of using voluntary disclosure information within annual reports. The research outcome showed that the current level of voluntary disclosure by family-controlled companies falls below the stakeholders’ expectations. The most frequently disclosed items within the annual reports are general corporate and strategic information, and financial information. However, the forward-looking and risk review management category had lower disclosure in the annual reports, and fell short of stakeholders’ expectation. One important finding in this study is that, compared to previous studies in the Malaysian context, voluntary disclosure regarding Islamic values in areas such as halal certification, zakat, and waqf within the companies’ annual reports is improving. This study also identifies that the number of family members involved in the management of a family-controlled business, the generations to which members of the family belong, and the education level of family members are positively significant in terms of the level of voluntary disclosure in the annual reports of family-controlled companies. Furthermore, the data from the discussions with and opinions expressed by the interview participants indicate that the family-controlled companies in Malaysia are progressing towards better voluntary disclosure practices. It is believed that the findings of this research can assist in the improvement of family-controlled company governance and the development of voluntary disclosure practice guidelines applicable to the Malaysian family business context.
Type of thesis
Md Zaini, S. B. (2017). The level of voluntary disclosure by Malaysian listed family-controlled companies (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10977
University of Waikato
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