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Perception of preparers of sustainability reports in the Middle East: Contrasting between local and global

Muatasim Ismaeel (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Zarina Zakaria (Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 2 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the preparers’ perceptions of sustainability reporting as a distinct voluntary corporate reporting practice in the Middle East. It links these perceptions to the influences of local and global institutional contexts and how companies respond to them.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is informed by a discursive institutionalism theoretical framework that incorporates concepts such as multiple institutional logics, hybridity in social practice and interpretive role of social agents. Its empirical findings are built on seven interviews with officials involved in the practice to explore their perception of sustainability reports.

Findings

Sustainability reporting is not understood and perceived in the same way among reporting companies in the Middle East. The difference in perception is linked to the scope of operations of the company, whether it is global or local. The results provide evidence supporting the theoretical framework. Different institutional logics are identified that interact at the structure level to influence sustainability reporting practice, and companies act at the agency level by selecting from the institutional influences what match their interests and priorities. Consequently, the practice itself will be hybrid and will include various ways and forms of reporting.

Originality/value

The study contributes to knowledge about how global business practices are adopted by companies in the developing countries.

Keywords

Citation

Ismaeel, M. and Zakaria, Z. (2020), "Perception of preparers of sustainability reports in the Middle East: Contrasting between local and global", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 89-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-03-2019-0459

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited