Project Description


Purpose: Nowadays, in this highly dynamic and complex context, companies have to act in a socially responsible and sustainable way to survive, creating shared value. This work analyses, through descriptive statistics, the elements that Italian banks identify as strategic to increasing their relational and reputational capital and to being in consonance with stakeholder’s expectations.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper investigates the width (number of intermediaries that included the materiality matrix in their non-financial reports) and the depth (number of indicators in the matrix) of the phenomenon to detect the bank’s attention on critical topics for their stakeholders.

Findings: The focus is on materiality matrices in order to detect a correspondence among the significant indicators selected by the banks and those value-generators for stakeholders. In the perspective used in this work, property is also a stakeholder; indeed, wanting to use the terminology of the viable systems approach, property represents a relevant supra-system as it is critical and influential for the decision makers.

Research limitations/implications: The main limits are the low number of non-financial reports published by Italian banks, and the little information on the type of stakeholder involved in the building of the materiality matrix.

Originality/value: The originality of this work is multifaceted. Primarily, there are no similar studies in the banking sector. The present work intends to go beyond the studies already in the literature on mapping and stakeholder prioritisation as well as on the identification and selection of material themes. Moreover, having found, during the analysis of the banks’ reports, the heterogeneity of indicators identified as material, for both banks and stakeholders, the same have been traced back to the related stages identified by Carroll in the pyramid of social responsibility.

Keywords: materiality, materiality matrix, corporate soci