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Understanding systemic change in the context of the social and environmental disclosures of a conservation organisation in a developing country

Grant Samkin (Department of Accounting, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand) (Department of Financial Accounting, College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)
Christa Wingard (Department of Financial Accounting, College of Accounting Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 22 September 2020

Issue publication date: 7 June 2021

729

Abstract

Purpose

This uses a framework of systemic change to understand the contextual factors including stakeholder, social, political, cultural and economic, which contribute to the social and environmental narratives of a conservation organisation that has and continues to undergo transformation.

Design/methodology/approach

The social and environmental disclosure annual report narratives for a 27-year period were coded to a framework of systemic change.

Findings

The end of apartheid in 1994 meant that South African society required transformation. This transformation impacts and drives the social and environmental accounting disclosures made by SANParks. The social and environmental disclosures coded against a framework of systemic change, fluctuated over the period of the study as the format of the annual reports changed. The systems view was the most frequently disclosed category. The political ecology subcategory which details the power relationships showed the most disclosures. However, 25 years after the end of apartheid, the transformation process remains incomplete. Although the evidence in the paper does not support Joseph and Reigelut (2010) contention that the framework of systemic change is an iterative process, it nevertheless provides a useful vehicle for analysing the rich annual report narratives of an organisation that has undergone and continues to undergo transformation.

Originality/value

This paper makes two primary contributions. First, to the limited developing country social and environmental accounting literature. Second, the development, refinement and application of a framework of systemic change to social and environmental disclosures.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Professor James Guthrie and Annika Schneider are thanked for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Participants at seminars held at the University of Waikato, the University of South Africa, and University of Canterbury are also thanked for their contribution to the development of this paper. Finally, the input from the participants at the 2019 APIRA conference held in Auckland must be acknowledged.

Citation

Samkin, G. and Wingard, C. (2021), "Understanding systemic change in the context of the social and environmental disclosures of a conservation organisation in a developing country", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 1275-1304. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-05-2019-4010

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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