Factors Influencing Voluntary Corporate Disclosure by Kenyan Companies

D.G. Barako, Phil Hancock, Izan Izan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

460 Citations (Scopus)


There has been considerable research in respect of voluntary disclosure by companies and factors that may explain such disclosure. However, most of the research has been centred in developed countries. This study extends the previous literature by examining voluntary disclosure in a developing country, namely Kenya. Over the last decade, the Kenyan Government has initiated several far-reaching reforms at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in order to mobilise domestic savings and attract foreign capital investment. These measures include privatisation of state corporations through the stock exchange and allowing foreign investors to own shares in the listed companies. This study provides a longitudinal examination of voluntary disclosure practices in the annual reports of listed companies in Kenya from 1992 to 2001. The study investigates the extent to which corporate governance attributes, ownership structure and company characteristics influence voluntary disclosure practices.Our results suggest that the extent of voluntary disclosure is influenced by a firm's corporate governance attributes, ownership structure and company characteristics. The presence of an audit committee is a significant factor associated with the level of voluntary disclosure, and the proportion of non-executive directors on the board is found to be significantly negatively associated with the extent of voluntary disclosure. The study also finds that the levels of institutional and foreign ownership have a significantly positive impact on voluntary disclosure. Large companies and companies with high debt voluntarily disclose more information. In contrast, board leadership structure, liquidity, profitability and type of external audit firm do not have a significant influence on the level of voluntary disclosure by companies in Kenya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-125
JournalCorporate Governance: An International Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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