Opening the barn doors: Effects of Farm Animal Welfare Disclosure on Perceived Transparency
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- Master of Science 
One of the most topical issues of agriculture today is farm animal welfare (FAW). Agricultural corporations struggle to get through the minefield of transparent corporate communication and are regularly subjected to public criticism whenever transparency is less than what consumers expect. This quantitative study addresses the lack of experimental research on transparent corporate communication in the meat industry, aiming to understand how farmer- and non-farmer consumers perceive corporate transparency effort depending on the degree of FAW disclosure. We hypothesize high FAW disclosure delivers more positive perceptions of the corporation's transparency effort. We further argue that high FAW disclosure will deliver more similar perceptions between two consumer groups in this study, namely farmers and non-farmers, in turn minimizing the information asymmetry previous literature has found to exist between such groups. Industry knowledge is also hypothesized to act as a moderator between the relationship of IV and DV. An online experiment was conducted in Qualtrics, collecting 318 responses, where 306 of them were valid. The data was then analyzed in SPSS 28 through a variety of t-tests, ANOVA and regression models. The results find a strong relationship between the degree of FAW disclosure and perceived transparency effort, where high disclosure seems to deliver significantly more positive and similar perceptions of the corporation's transparency effort compared to low FAW disclosure. Interestingly, industry knowledge did not have a moderator effect, but still significantly influences perceived transparency effort directly. However, effects of greenwashing and open washing might occur if too much information is disclosed. Therefore, depending on the level of industry knowledge needed to decode disclosed information, corporations should vary between a sweet spot of medium and high FAW disclosure.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2022