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The three pillars of institutional theory and IFRS implementation in Nigeria

Igbekele Sunday Osinubi (Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London, London, UK)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 26 August 2020

Issue publication date: 13 October 2020




This study explores the effects of the three pillars of institutional theory in shaping the activities of institutional entrepreneurs and other social actors during International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) implementation in Nigeria.


This study uses a document analysis method to achieve the objectives of the study.


This study finds that IFRS implementation in Nigeria witnessed some progression from regulative to normative to cognitive pillar building. The regulation on IFRS implementation was initiated top-down rather than through lobbying from professional accounting bodies and the public. Changes in the regulatory framework brought some improvement to corporate financial reporting practices such as the timing of corporate filings of audited financial reports. However, the implementation process is laden with conflicts and power struggle among institutional actors. These conflicts and power struggles led the President of Nigeria to sack the Board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), the reconstitution of the Board and appointment of a Chairman for the Board of the FRC.

Practical implications

IFRS implementation process resulted in power redistribution among institutional actors, which led to resistance, tensions and conflicts among institutional actors. The conflicts arise from the need of actors to legitimate their activities and secure their positions. The three institutional pillars are key components of a change process and the actor's social position affects their capability to act as an institutional entrepreneur.


This finding should provide foundational knowledge that will inform practitioners, researchers and regulators in developing countries on how institutional actors shape the approach to corporate reporting regulations.



The author acknowledges the useful comments, and suggestions of the two anonymous reviewers on the earlier version of this paper, leading to an updated and revised version in this submission.Declaration of interest: This research was conducted by the author while working as a full-time Senior Lecturer at the University of East London, United Kingdom. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Osinubi, I.S. (2020), "The three pillars of institutional theory and IFRS implementation in Nigeria", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 575-599.



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