Benchmarking as a tool to identify social reporting

Simona Alfiero - , Walter Gamba -


The wide spreading of the need for information is rapidly changing the competitive scenario. The issue of external communication documents, allowing interaction between enterprises and different entities, cooperate in defining the new ways for social responsibility. Organisations, in fact, must anticipate increasingly dynamic and complex changes in the competitive scenario. So, as many authors have shown, production of information is a fundamental quality to develop a legitimation from stakeholder. The main goal of this research is to investigate, from an empirical point of view, how companies in Italy communicate through reporting and if it's possible to establish an unique method adopted by most of them. It is necessary to evaluate if reporting tools can be identified among standards issued by scholars or institutions in Italy, through an analysis to extrapolate the parts showing connections toward all stakeholders. The first part of the research is aimed to identify which Italian companies are currently reporting their social activity towards all the subjects who, directly or indirectly, deal with them. The size of the company and its quotation are not to be considered a fundamental matter for the survey, since it is not important to evaluate the relationship between the size of a company and its social behaviour, but to understand if enterprises want to report toward their own stakeholder, and to analyse how that is done. The analysis is based on the extrapolation of indicators that truly represent the relationship between the firm and its stakeholder. It is necessary to find out if they are adopted by all the companies in the same sector, and if they have different weights. Then a benchmarking technique must be chosen to identify, inside the documents issued by the companies, social reporting indicators and to find real Key Performance Social Indicators for each activity sector. Benchmarking can be defined as a continuous monitoring technique of management, in order to search for and get excellence, using comparison institutionalised procedures with the best existing reference converted in performance standards. As a consequence, it may be considered as the most suitable method to identify social performance indicators to rely with stakeholder. After having identified a benchmark among a number of companies doing social reporting over the last five years, it becomes possible to try to define some Key Performance Social Indicators. This makes possible to propose them as reference indicators to draft social reports in the next years and to allow the stakeholder to compare the social reporting activities of each company in any sector.

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Registered by the Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia N. 685/2007 R.S.P. – electronic ISSN 2038-5498


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