This paper aims to generate insights about the transformative potential of integrated reporting by exploring organisational adoption of non-financial reporting design archetypes available in the field.
Drawing on the concept of design archetype, this study conducts an exploratory interpretative based on qualitative semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. The study is based on the Spanish integrated reporting field.
This study reveals that IIRC framework lacks the transformative potential to become an environmental disturbance for corporate reporting practice. It explains how organisations, in their attempt to seek coherence with underlying interpretative schemes, change their structural arrangements (structure, processes and systems) to adopt sustainability and integrated reporting design archetypes available in the field. Though organisational differences are portrayed, the transition from a sustainability-reporting archetype to an integrated-reporting archetype does not seem to be easily achieved.
Due to its exploratory nature, further investigation of the transformative potential of integrated reporting is needed to address intra-organisational factors such as internal stakeholder interests, organisational values, individual or collective agency to embed interpretative schemes into structural arrangements, and technical and managerial capabilities enabling action.
Findings inform practitioners and policymakers about the hindrances to integrated reporting implementation to be considered for prospective regulation and standardisation.
The study reflects on the difficulties for both mainstreaming sustainability to influence decision-making and developing reporting archetypes coherent with integrated thinking.
By focusing on archetype design, the paper provides insights to assess the transformative potential of integrated reporting.
The authors would like to thank the reviewers and Carol Adams for their helpful comments and Matias Laine for her assistance in the project. We are also grateful for the financial assistance provided by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, FEDER and Consejería de Educación, Junta de Castilla y León (Grants ECO2015-65782-P and BU058P17).
Rodríguez-Gutiérrez, P., Correa, C. and Larrinaga, C. (2019), "Is integrated reporting transformative? An exploratory study of non-financial reporting archetypes", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 617-644. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-12-2017-0156
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