n Management Dynamics : Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists - Referring integrated annual report readers to corporate websites

Volume 28 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1019-567X


This study examines the link between the use of websites and annual reports as communication channels. The first objective was to assess the extent to which companies rely on their websites. For the purpose of this study, ‘reliance’ was operationalised as the extent to which companies rely on their websites as a supplementary information source to their annual report (measured as the number of times annual report readers are referred to the company’s website for additional information). It appears that companies mainly refer readers of their annual report to their websites for further information about corporate governance-related issues. The second objective was to ascertain whether an association exists between companies’ reliance on their website as a supplementary source of information and investors’ ability to find such ‘promised’ information (presentation-related attributes). A positive correlation was found between companies’ reliance and a website score consisting of eight presentation-related attributes. The third objective was to explore the determinants of companies’ reliance. It seemed that larger companies, companies with higher debt levels and companies from specific industries were more reliant on their websites as a supplementary source of information. The results emphasise how important it is for companies and regulators to understand the drivers and benefits of staying abreast of technological developments – more specifically, for companies in developing their communication strategies, and for regulators in updating reporting standards and regulations.

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