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Article
Publication date: 16 June 2021

Matteo Molinari and Charl de Villiers

COVID-19 restrictions have severely impacted access to the traditional data and data sources used by qualitative researchers. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the…

Abstract

Purpose

COVID-19 restrictions have severely impacted access to the traditional data and data sources used by qualitative researchers. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the corresponding challenges and opportunities of conducting qualitative research in accounting.

Design/methodology/approach

This study highlights the opportunities opened up by the way the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting qualitative accounting research, discussing the most common qualitative accounting research methods, practices and techniques used during the different phases of research.

Findings

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping some of the traditional research methods, practices and techniques in qualitative accounting research. Particularly, academic researchers who are reluctant to use the new technologies need to adapt their research approach, deal with the new challenges and exploit the opportunities to conduct research in a COVID-19 environment. Some changes in research methods, practices and techniques will affect accounting research in the long term.

Research limitations/implications

This paper could be a valuable resource for qualitative accounting researchers.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first to focus on the changes, challenges and opportunities for conducting qualitative accounting research in a COVID-19 setting. As such, this paper could be a valuable resource for different types of qualitative accounting researchers, specifically the discussion of ways to deal with the changes and challenges, as well as the opportunities, as summarised in the table.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Charl de Villiers and Matteo Molinari

The purpose of this paper is to understand how communication strategies and the use of numbers can ensure the buy-in and cooperation of stakeholders.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how communication strategies and the use of numbers can ensure the buy-in and cooperation of stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on legitimacy theory, this study analysis documents regarding the communication strategies of New Zealand (NZ)'s Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to extract lessons for organizations. The authors contrast Ardern's communications with those of Donald Trump, the President of the United States (US), as evidence that leaders do not necessarily follow these strategies.

Findings

The findings show that clear, consistent and credible communications, backed up by open access to the numerical data that underlie the decisions, ensure that these decisions are seen as legitimate, ensure that citizens/stakeholders feel leaders are accountable and believe in the necessity of measures taken and that they conform to the guidelines and rules. By contrast, the strategy of attempting to withhold information, blaming others, refusing to acknowledge that there are problems and refusing to address problems lead to non-conformance by citizens/stakeholders. Business leaders could apply these lessons to the management of crises in their organizations to ensure buy-in from employees and other stakeholders. Leaders and organizations that follow these communication strategies can emerge in a stronger position than before the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

This paper develops a theoretical framework of strategies aimed at maintaining and disrupting legitimacy among key audiences, which can be used in future research.

Practical implications

This paper highlighting how organizations and organizational leaders can best communicate with stakeholders using accounting, thus coming across as being accountable during crisis times.

Social implications

The legitimacy maintenance strategies outlined in this paper ensures that stakeholders feel leaders and the organizations they represent hold themselves accountable.

Originality/value

This paper outlines the lessons that an organization can learn from communication strategies adopted by governments during the COVID-19 crisis. The paper extends legitimacy theory by explicitly acknowledging the ability to disrupt the legitimacy of others and including this in the authors’ theoretical framework.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 May 2022

Charl de Villiers, Pei-Chi Kelly Hsiao, Stefano Zambon and Elisabetta Magnaghi

This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework for extended external reporting (EER) influences (EERI), including sustainability, non-financial, integrated and value…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework for extended external reporting (EER) influences (EERI), including sustainability, non-financial, integrated and value reporting. Using the Environmental Legitimacy, Accountability, and Proactivity (ELAP) framework as the base, we modify its proposed concepts and linkages using relevant conceptual models, prior reviews and findings of recent studies on EER. This paper presents contributions of the special issue on “non-financial and integrated reporting, governance and value creation” and avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on relevant conceptual models, prior reviews and recent EER studies, we reframed the ELAP framework into a framework that theorises the factors that affects, or are affected by, EER.

Findings

The EERI framework poses relationships between and within proactivity, external verification, accountability and legitimacy. It also consolidates possible determinants and consequences of EER. The papers published in this special issue contribute further insights on factors that influence reporting practices, processes and suggestions for capturing and communicating value creation information, and the value of integrated reports and assurance to capital providers.

Originality/value

Along with the insights provided by papers in this special issue, the conceptual framework can be used to theorise influences of EER and guide future research.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

Rayhan Arul, Charl de Villiers and Ruth Dimes

This study aims to provide insights into the poorly understood concept of integrated thinking by comparing and contrasting disclosures related to integrated thinking…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to provide insights into the poorly understood concept of integrated thinking by comparing and contrasting disclosures related to integrated thinking provided in integrated reports in two different institutional settings.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses content analysis of the narrative sections of integrated reports to explore similarities and differences in the way the concept of integrated thinking is portrayed. It uses a matched sample of financial services companies in two different institutional settings, South Africa (where integrated reporting (IR) is mandatory and IR practices are world-leading) and Japan (where IR is voluntary and interest in IR is still developing). IR adoption is viewed through the lens of institutional theory, focussing on isomorphic forces which affect companies’ structure, policies and practices.

Findings

Even though the conceptualisation of integrated thinking differs between South Africa and Japan, in both settings there is a strong association between integrated thinking disclosures and corporate governance practices, materiality assessments and the pursuit of an industry leadership position, suggesting a link between these concepts and the underlying level of integrated thinking. Japanese disclosures appear to mimic South African disclosures, highlighting South Africa’s leading role in IR, although Japan shows more varied interpretations of integrated thinking.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the growing body of literature on the poorly understood concept of integrated thinking, responding to calls from both academics and practitioners for more research in this area. It shows the potential for integrated thinking to develop through a process of mimicry and highlights South Africa’s leading role in the dissemination of best practice in the field. Its findings relating to the fluid conceptualisation of integrated thinking in different institutional settings will be of interest to regulators and practitioners. To the knowledge this is one of the first studies to consider disclosures relating to integrated thinking in the financial services sector. Focussing on the financial services sector, with its unique features and regulatory frameworks, allows for deeper analysis, free from the potential distortions inherent in studying a broader cross-section of industries. The study also highlights the importance of corporate governance to integrated thinking, suggesting future research avenues.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 December 2018

Wendy Terblanche and Charl De Villiers

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether preparing an integrated report and/or whether cross-listing is associated with more intellectual capital (IC) disclosure.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether preparing an integrated report and/or whether cross-listing is associated with more intellectual capital (IC) disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares the content of IC disclosures of matched samples of companies.

Findings

The findings show that companies preparing an integrated report disclose more IC information, and that companies exposed to international capital market pressures through cross-listing do not disclose more IC information.

Research limitations/implications

The findings imply that integrated reporting (IR) is likely to increase IC disclosures and also that future IC disclosure research may have to take into account whether companies prepare an integrated report.

Practical implications

The results will be of interest to the proponents of IC and of IR, including the developers of the IR framework, regulators and companies considering IR.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to assess the influence of preparing an integrated report on the level of IC disclosure.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Federica Farneti, Federica Casonato, Monica Montecalvo and Charl de Villiers

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…

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.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 October 2021

Charl de Villiers, Muhammad Bilal Farooq and Matteo Molinari

This study aims to examine the methodological and method-related challenges and opportunities arising from the use of video interviews in qualitative accounting research…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the methodological and method-related challenges and opportunities arising from the use of video interviews in qualitative accounting research, focussed on collecting contextual data and visual cues, enriching communication quality and building and maintaining rapport with interviewees.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior literature and the authors’ experiences using video technologies for research, including conducting interviews, inform this research. This study uses a transactional conceptual refinement of information richness theory and channel expansion theory to critically analyse the challenges and opportunities of using video technology to conduct qualitative research interviews.

Findings

The ability, need for and significance of collecting contextual data depend on the researchers’ ontological and epistemological assumptions, and are, therefore, influenced by their research design choices. Video technology enables researchers to view research settings by video. In addition, whilst group/panel interviews have their advantages, it is often difficult to get everyone together in person, something video technology can potentially overcome. The feasibility and the quality of video interviews can be improved if both interview participants are experienced with using video technology, as well as with judicious investment in good quality video technology and through testing and practice. We also discuss how rapport building with interviewees can be facilitated by overcoming the video’s sense of disconnect and enhancing interviewees’ willingness to engage.

Originality/value

The study builds on the limited prior literature and considers the challenges and opportunities related to methodology and method when conducting video-based qualitative interviews in accounting research. Broadly, qualitative researchers will find the paper useful in considering the use of video interviews and in making research design choices appropriate for video interviews.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 January 2021

A.M.I. Lakshan, Mary Low and Charl de Villiers

Integrated reporting (IR) promotes the disclosure of future-oriented information to enable financial stakeholders to make better-informed decisions. However, the downside…

Abstract

Purpose

Integrated reporting (IR) promotes the disclosure of future-oriented information to enable financial stakeholders to make better-informed decisions. However, the downside to this type of disclosure is the risk to management of disclosing such future-oriented information. This paper aims to explore how IR preparers manage the risk of disclosing future-oriented information in companies’ integrated reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This study represents an exploratory interpretative thematic analysis of 33 semi-structured interviews with managers involved in IR in eight Sri Lankan companies representing various industries. The thematic analysis is informed by the research literature and prior studies on IR.

Findings

This paper provides evidence of various strategies to manage the risk associated with the disclosure of future-oriented information in integrated reports. These strategies include making non-specific predictions; increasing the accuracy of the predictions; linking performance management to disclosed targets, thus ensuring individual responsibility for target achievement; disclosing ex post explanations for not achieving previously disclosed targets; and linking disclosed targets to the company’s risk management procedures. However, these strategies can cause managers to provide conservative future-oriented information, rather than “best estimate” future-oriented information.

Practical implications

The study describes the strategies that managers use to mitigate the risks involved in disclosing future-oriented information. These strategies can provide support or raise concerns, for managers in deciding how to deal with such risks. Regulators tasked with investor protection, as well as stock exchanges interested in the transparency and accountability of listed companies’ activities should be aware of these strategies. Furthermore, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) should be interested in the implications of this study because some of the identified strategies could undermine the usefulness of integrated reports to stakeholders. This is a significant concern given that the IIRC envisages integrated reporting and thinking as vehicles that could align capital allocation and corporate behaviour with wider sustainable development goals.

Social implications

The trend of future-oriented information moving from being used only in organisations’ internal management systems to being externally reported in integrated reports has implications for stakeholder groups interested in the reported targets. This study reveals management strategies that could affect future-oriented information reliability and reduce their usefulness for users of integrated reports.

Originality/value

This study provides unique insights into the emerging area of how managers deal with the risks involved in disclosing future-oriented IR information.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Muhammad Bilal Farooq and Charl de Villiers

The purpose of this paper is to examine how sustainability assurance providers’ (SAPs) promotion of sustainability assurance influences the scope of engagements, its…

1101

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how sustainability assurance providers’ (SAPs) promotion of sustainability assurance influences the scope of engagements, its implications for professional and managerial capture and the ability of sustainability assurance to promote credible reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted in-depth interviews with sustainability reporting managers (SRMs) and SAPs in Australia and New Zealand, using an institutional work lens to focus the analysis.

Findings

At the start of a new assurance engagement, SAPs offer pre-assurance and flexible assurance scopes, allowing them to recruit clients on narrow-scoped engagements. These narrow-scoped engagements focus on disclosed content and limit SAPs’ ability to add value and enhance credibility. During assurance engagements, SAPs educate managers and encourage changing the norms underlying sustainability reporting. At the end of the assurance engagement, SAPs provide a management report demonstrating added-value of assurance and encouraging clients broader-scoped engagements. However, with each assurance engagement, the recommendations offer diminishing returns, often leading managers to question the value of broad-scoped engagements and to consider narrowing the scope to realize savings. Under these conditions, client pressure (potentially managerial capture) along with practitioners’ desires to grow assurance income (potentially professional capture) can affect SAPs’ independence and the quality of their assurance work.

Practical implications

The study implies that regulation mandating the scope of engagements may be called for.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the research literature in several ways. First, the findings show how professional and managerial capture occurs before, during and at the end of the assurance process. The authors highlight how perceived value addition from sustainability assurance diminishes over time and how this impacts the scope of engagements (with implications for SAPs independence and the quality of assurance work). The authors show these findings in a table, clarifying the complicated interrelationships. Second, the authors contribute to theory by identifying a new form of institutional work. Third, unlike previous studies focused on SAPs, the authors provide insights from the perspectives of both SAPs and SRMs.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 May 2022

Charl de Villiers, Matteo La Torre and Matteo Molinari

This paper aims to reflect on the future of sustainability reporting standards by examining the current practical initiatives and the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to reflect on the future of sustainability reporting standards by examining the current practical initiatives and the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) position in the arena of non-financial and sustainability reporting and identifies avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

A critical reflection and analysis of research on the GRI’s achievements and the influence of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation’s initiative to develop global sustainability reporting standards.

Findings

The GRI has a dominant position in sustainability reporting standard-setting related to the provision of information about the influence of reporting organisations on society and the natural environment. The IFRS Foundation’s initiative to enter the sustainability reporting standard-setting arena, although from the perspective of providing information to investors regarding the influence of society and the environment on the reporting organisation, is an attempt to solidify its own position as the reporting standard setter of choice, not only for financial reporting but for all reporting standards. However, despite its aim to differentiate its role from the GRI by leveraging the financial-oriented ideological side of double materiality, we argue that the IFRS is unlikely to harm the GRI’s global position in producing multi-stakeholder standards for sustainability reporting and accountability. This differentiated position is facilitated by the different sources of legitimacy the GRI and IFRS rely on.

Research limitations/implications

The paper identifies future research opportunities.

Originality/value

Due to the recent initiatives for creating new sustainability reporting standard-setters, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper offers one of the first critical reflections on the past and the likely future of the GRI and its sustainability reporting standards. The paper also identifies several new avenues for future research.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

1 – 10 of 104