Bankruptcy in the UK: Do managers talk the talk before walking the walk?

Yousry Ahmed, Mohamed Elsayed, Bin Xu

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Abstract

This study examines whether managers employ the annual report textual disclosures as a conduit to communicate the probability of future corporate bankruptcy or to intentionally mislead stakeholders due to impression management incentives. We conduct various examinations around the information content of the tone conveyed by textual disclosures in the unstructured UK annual reports and the probability of corporate bankruptcy. We document that firms that communicate a more net positive tone are associated with lower bankruptcy risk. Importantly, this association is found to be stronger for firms whose managers have a lower incentive to mislead investors due to better board monitoring, stringent stock market regulation, and Big 4 audits. We also offer complementary evidence that firms conveying a more net positive tone exhibit higher future performance and earnings persistence, and lower future performance volatility. These firms are also less likely to exhibit extreme corporate policies and receive a qualified auditor’s opinion. Overall, this study sheds light on whether managers tend to inform or misinform (bury their heads in the sand) about corporate bankruptcy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management

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