Sandra Khalil is currently an assistant professor of accounting in the Department of Accounting and Finance at Notre Dame University (NDU), Lebanon. Sandra earned her BBA, Banking & Finance in 2007 and her MBA in Finance in 2010 from NDU. In 2015, she obtained her DBA in accounting from GEM. Sandra is currently the coordinator of the accounting discipline at NDU. Her research focuses on accounting ethics. She has previously worked in the banking sector, specifically, in credit analysis.
Despite the heightened interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Social Disclosures (CSD) by both companies and academicians, research on the internet social disclosures of companies known by Internet Social Reporting (ISR) remains relatively limited.
Hence, the purpose of this study was to contribute to the advance of knowledge on ISR especially in the Middle Eastern context. Particularly, it investigated the internet social disclosures of Lebanese commercial banks with the aim of identifying its extent, quality, and determinants.
To achieve this objective, an extensive literature review was first performed to get a better understanding of the concepts of CSR, CSD, ISR and the different studies pertaining to these subjects. Then, an empirical investigation of the status of ISR was performed using a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative research.
On the qualitative side, interviews were conducted with bank representatives to seek their opinions and motivations toward ISR and to prepare the quantitative work.
On the quantitative side, 34 Lebanese banks were studied. A content analysis of their websites was conducted to examine the extent and quality of their internet social disclosures.
Interview findings served to validate the developed model and to check the meaningfulness of the hypotheses formulated to test the status of ISR in the Lebanese banking sector.
The quantitative results provided strong evidence of the prevalent use of ISR by Lebanese commercial banks. They revealed that the most disclosed category of ISR is Community and Philanthropy whereas the least disclosed type is Environmental disclosures.
The main contribution of this study was that it looked at the greenwashing behavior of banks. Quantitative findings proved the widespread use of greenwashing by Lebanese commercial banks.
Moreover, different hypotheses were formulated to examine the association between ISR and some selected variables. Several statistical tests were used to examine these hypotheses mainly multiple regression. Results proved the presence of a strong positive association with bank profitability, size, leverage, and ownership concentration. Findings also implied an insignificant difference in the ISR behavior of banks based on their age and religion.
The study concludes by recommending future research paths on the topic in addition to proposing different steps to enhance the level of ISR in Lebanon.
Overall, this study has contributed both theoretically and practically to the ISR practice in the Lebanese banking sector.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Disclosures, Internet Social Reporting, Banks, Lebanon.