The purpose of this paper is to identify key challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses experienced by the integrated reporting (IR) idea since the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)’s Discussion Paper was published in late 2011. It provides insights into the phases of the IR journey as investigated by accounting researchers, identifies important gaps in the literature and sketches an agenda for future research.
The paper develops a theoretically informed analysis of published IR research articles using the idea journey theoretical framework. The paper draws upon academic analysis and insights published in 65 IR-related articles across 83 accounting journals listed in the Scopus database.
A key insight of the paper is that the academic literature has not yet covered all stages of the IR idea journey. The highest proportion of articles provide insights in the generation and production phases of this journey, while there is relatively little research into the impact phase of the IR idea. Furthermore, the locus of research covered by the current IR literature is situated at macro- and meso-levels. This reveals opportunities for future research to explore, at a more detailed level, interactions between single individuals or small groups in implementing or understanding the IR idea.
This paper focuses on the idea journey of the IIRC’s version of IR. It identifies gaps regarding the stages of the IR idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature and suggests some research areas that need to be addressed to help inform improvements in policy and practice. A key limitation is that it draws on a single communication channel, namely, academic articles published in accounting journals, but it provides opportunities for considerable further developments.
The paper extends IR research by reconciling insights from an understandably fragmented emerging literature. It provides a multi-dimensional perspective on IR, highlighting the dynamics and interrelationships in the literature. It also helps inform improvements in research, policy and practice by identifying gaps regarding the stages of the IR idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature. Lastly, the paper builds on the work of innovation and creativity scholars showing how the idea journey framework can be used to shape and add coherence to accounting research.
This paper forms part of a special section “Case study insights from the implementation of integrated reporting”.
The authors are very grateful to the authors and the referees who contributed to this special issue, helping raise important and robust insights. The authors are also very grateful to James Guthrie, who encouraged the special issue and dealt with this paper editorially, as well as the two anonymous referees of this paper for their helpful guidance and comments on earlier drafts of the paper. Any remaining errors are a result of our own work.
Rinaldi, L., Unerman, J. and de Villiers, C. (2018), "Evaluating the integrated reporting journey: insights, gaps and agendas for future research", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 1294-1318. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-04-2018-3446
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