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The influence of integrated reporting and stakeholder information needs on the disclosure of social information in a state-owned enterprise

Federica Farneti (University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Federica Casonato (Ernst & Young, Milan, Italy)
Monica Montecalvo (Ernst & Young, Bologna, Italy)
Charl de Villiers (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand and University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 27 June 2019

Issue publication date: 22 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how social disclosures are influenced by the adoption of integrated reporting (IR), focusing on the three social capitals in the international IR framework, namely, intellectual, human and social and relationship capital.

Design/methodology/approach

This study takes the form of a single case study involving content analyses of annual reports and integrated reports from 2009 to 2017 (i.e. before and after IR adoption in 2013), as well as in-depth, semi-structured interviews with key preparers of the integrated report at New Zealand Post, to study changes in disclosures towards different stakeholder groups, from an internal organisation perspective. The empirical evidence is analysed through the lens of stakeholder theory.

Findings

This study provides empirical evidence that contributes to our understanding of IR’s influence on the disclosure of social information and enhanced stakeholder relations in a public sector context. The study shows that the IR framework promoted a materiality assessment approach with stakeholders, which led to a reduction in social disclosures, while the materiality focus led to the disclosure of social matters more relevant to stakeholders.

Social implications

IR led to meaningful stakeholder engagement, which led to social disclosure that are more relevant to stakeholders.

Originality/value

This study assesses the influence of IR on social disclosures. The findings will be of interest to organisations seeking to enhance stakeholder relations and/or undertake IR and/or social disclosures.

Keywords

Citation

Farneti, F., Casonato, F., Montecalvo, M. and de Villiers, C. (2019), "The influence of integrated reporting and stakeholder information needs on the disclosure of social information in a state-owned enterprise", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 556-579. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-01-2019-0436

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited