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The objective of this research is to determine the impact that sustainability assurance services have on corporate reputation and stakeholder engagement, delving into the differentiating effect of certain attributes of the assurer and the quality level of the assurance. After an initial exploratory analysis in which the added value that the assurance service has on the external business image and on the relationships with stakeholders is evidenced, the results obtained for a sample of 604 multinational corporations for the period 2011–2017 show the existence of a reputational advantage for those companies that have contracted for a higher quality assurance service. On the contrary, the attributes of the assurer have no direct and indirect effect on corporate reputation unless the assurer is an auditor, which favours a higher quality of assurance service and indirectly affects the probability that the company will be included in a reputation ranking. The intrinsic characteristics of this service do not translate into active stakeholder engagement. From a theoretical and practical point of view, this evidence contributes to the knowledge of the effect of assurance on stakeholder engagement and corporate reputation by improving the climate of trust around the company's disclosure.
International Journal of Auditing – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 2022
Keywords: assurance; corporate reputation; disclosure; stakeholder engagement
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