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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2016

Belverd E. Needles, Mark L. Frigo, Marian Powers and Anton Shigaev

Prior research shows that companies that achieve high performance excel at certain financial objectives. This chapter addresses the question: Do companies that excel at…

Abstract

Purpose

Prior research shows that companies that achieve high performance excel at certain financial objectives. This chapter addresses the question: Do companies that excel at these financial performance objectives also excel in integrated reporting and sustainability reporting?

Methodology/approach

We compare a sample of high performance companies (HPC) with a sample of companies that purport to support integrated reporting, and a sample that purport to support sustainability reporting. Our hypotheses are that HPC will equal or exceed the integrated reporting and sustainability reporting practices shown by International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) companies and US companies will be less at these practices than non-US companies.

Findings

Our findings indicate that IIRC companies and GRI companies generally do not meet the high financial performance measures of the HPC. Based on an integrated reporting and sustainability reporting matrix, we show that HPC exhibit equal performance on the practices of sustainability and integrated reporting compared to GRI companies, but both HPC and GRI are lower on these practices than IIRC companies. Also, US companies disclose less information in sustainability reports and integrated reports as compared to non-US companies. Overall, all three groups fall short of full compliance with standards of integrated reporting and sustainability reporting.

Originality/value

This chapter provides evidence as to the financial performance and the current state of integrated reporting and sustainability reporting among HPC, GRI, and IIRC companies. This chapter highlights the global need for a generally accepted set of standards for sustainability and integrated reporting practices.

Details

Performance Measurement and Management Control: Contemporary Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-915-2

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Catherine Le Roux and Marius Pretorius

This paper aims to explore the nexus between integrated reporting and sustainability embeddedness. It seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the nexus by…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the nexus between integrated reporting and sustainability embeddedness. It seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the nexus by obtaining in-depth insight from the sensemaking of those in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

A single exploratory case study design strategy was applied to a leading stock exchange listed company in the property industry in South Africa. Rich qualitative data were gathered by applying multiple data gathering techniques to a diverse group of employees within the case company.

Findings

This empirical study contributes a metaphor of a cog and chain and nine themes that elucidate employee sensemaking at the nexus. Integrated reporting was found to drive sustainability embeddedness and foster changes within the organisation. The themes offer in-depth insight into how employees made sense of integrated reporting as a driver for sustainability embeddedness.

Research limitations/implications

The findings emerged from a single case study that operated in a mandatory disclosure context and are therefore not generalisable. The findings reflect the intended outcomes of integrated reporting and further research to explore the unintended outcomes and challenges associated with integrated reporting is suggested.

Practical implications

The study contributes to a growing practice based agenda by offering a better understanding of how integrated reporting and sustainability are conceptualised and adopted in practice.

Social implications

The findings offer organisations’ guidance on integrated reporting and sustainability embeddedness adoption which can have vast implications for society and the environment.

Originality/value

The study responds to gaps in the literature and calls for studies to explore the intersection between integrated reporting and sustainability embeddedness by engaging those in practice.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Pablo Rodríguez-Gutiérrez, Carmen Correa and Carlos Larrinaga

This paper aims to generate insights about the transformative potential of integrated reporting by exploring organisational adoption of non-financial reporting design…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

Findings inform practitioners and policymakers about the hindrances to integrated reporting implementation to be considered for prospective regulation and standardisation.

Social implications

The study reflects on the difficulties for both mainstreaming sustainability to influence decision-making and developing reporting archetypes coherent with integrated thinking.

Originality/value

By focusing on archetype design, the paper provides insights to assess the transformative potential of integrated reporting.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2014

Wendy Stubbs and Colin Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal mechanisms employed by early adopters of integrated reporting in Australia to manage their reporting process and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal mechanisms employed by early adopters of integrated reporting in Australia to manage their reporting process and explores whether integrated reporting is stimulating innovative disclosure mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with organisations in varying stages of implementing integrated reporting. In total, 23 interviews were conducted with sustainability managers, finance managers and communications managers across 15 organisations. A content analysis of the interviews was undertaken using qualitative coding techniques.

Findings

While the organisations that are producing some form of integrated report are changing their processes and structures, or at least talking about it, their adoption of integrated reporting has not necessarily stimulated new innovations in disclosure mechanisms. This study did not uncover radical, transformative change to reporting processes, but rather incremental changes to processes and structures that previously supported sustainability reporting.

Research limitations/implications

A major limitation of this research study was the small sample of organisations and stakeholders that participated, and the single-country focus. Finance, accounting and strategy people were particularly under-represented in this study, as well as external stakeholders, and the conclusions can only be tentative until further tested.

Practical implications

This paper sheds light on the practices of early adopters of integrated reporting, and their learning could inform other organisations considering an integrated reporting approach.

Originality/value

As an emerging phenomenon, there are few empirical studies exploring integrated reporting practices and this paper provides some insights into integrated reporting in Australia.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2021

Laura Girella, Stefano Zambon and Paola Rossi

The role that the board can have in influencing the adoption of non-financial reporting (NFR) by companies is a topic that has raised interest in the recent literature…

Abstract

Purpose

The role that the board can have in influencing the adoption of non-financial reporting (NFR) by companies is a topic that has raised interest in the recent literature. However, very few have so far been said on the logic that underpins the selection by corporate boards of a particular model (sustainability and/or integrated). This study aims to examine if and to what extent board characteristics may influence the choice of companies to voluntarily publish a sustainability report, an integrated report or both of them, and if moderating variables, relating to incentives towards corporate transparency, may have an influence. Both of these types of reporting tools are in fact aimed at improving company disclosure towards sustainable development.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a multi-nomial regression analysis, this study tests the assumptions in a sample of companies listed on the Eurostoxx600 that adopt integrated or sustainability reporting or both of them for the period 2015–2018 for a total of 2,103 firm-years observations.

Findings

The results reveal that sustainability reporting is associated with board independence only, whilst the adoption of integrated reporting is influenced by board size and board independence. The same two variables influence also those companies that jointly adopt both sustainability and an integrated report. This confirms that integrated reporting requires more competencies and monitoring to be adopted. Furthermore, the results provide evidence that information asymmetry and financial constraints influence the decision of companies to publish the integrated report, sustainability report or both, whilst growth opportunities do not. Hence, moderating variables can have a role in explaining this association, and especially those that are related to the firm’s incentives related to the provision of financial capital by investors.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the literature in three ways. First, it proposes an incremental analysis of the relationship between board characteristics and voluntary disclosure of integrated reporting, considering the effects of moderating variables on this association. Second, the above relationship is examined in a comparative way vis-à-vis the adoption of sustainability reporting. Third, it demonstrates that the analysis of these reporting tools can benefit from an understanding that relies on both agency and stakeholder theories, that have to be conceived somehow complementary. In terms of limitations, this study is exclusively focussed on larger European listed firms, and therefore, the findings may not be valid for small and medium firms and for companies operating outside Europe.

Practical implications

This study provides useful insights for managers and policymakers to better understand which are the characteristics of the board composition that can best encourage a company to pursue a reporting strategy based on sustainable development. This results to be particularly relevant and timely in the European context if the authors take into consideration the developments of the European Parliament and Commission towards the launch of a new legislative proposal on sustainable corporate governance in 2021.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the existing literature in two ways. First, it offers a unique perspective on the direct and indirect effects of board characteristics on the adoption of integrated and/or sustainability reports by examining it in a comparative perspective. Second, it further demonstrates that the analysis of NFR and especially integrated reporting might benefit from the adoption of multiple conceptual lenses, in this case, agency and stakeholder theories.

Details

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

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Book part
Publication date: 12 March 2020

Sergio Paternostro

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of…

Abstract

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of this chapter is to critically analyze the relationship between integrated reporting (IR) and social/sustainability disclosure. Indeed, although some scholars considered IR as a tool to improve the sustainability approach of the companies allowing to disclose more relevant social information, others are more critical about the potentiality of IR to improve social disclosure. Therefore, the general research question is: Is there a natural link between IR and social disclosure (true love) or is the IR a practice to “normalize” the social disclosure and accounting (forced marriage)?

In the attempt to provide a preliminary answer to the research question, the chapter analyzes what is the approach of three categories: (1) academics; (2) soft-regulators; and (3) companies. From the methodological point of view, a mixed method of analysis has been adopted.

From the analysis of the three different points of view, IR can be considered as a “contested concept” because of the heterogeneous and sometimes conflicting interpretations and implementation that are done on this type of report. This leads to relevant theoretical and practical implications.

Details

Non-Financial Disclosure and Integrated Reporting: Practices and Critical Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-964-4

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Book part
Publication date: 20 October 2015

Mohammad Shamsuddoha

Contemporary literature reveals that, to date, the poultry livestock sector has not received sufficient research attention. This particular industry suffers from…

Abstract

Contemporary literature reveals that, to date, the poultry livestock sector has not received sufficient research attention. This particular industry suffers from unstructured supply chain practices, lack of awareness of the implications of the sustainability concept and failure to recycle poultry wastes. The current research thus attempts to develop an integrated supply chain model in the context of poultry industry in Bangladesh. The study considers both sustainability and supply chain issues in order to incorporate them in the poultry supply chain. By placing the forward and reverse supply chains in a single framework, existing problems can be resolved to gain economic, social and environmental benefits, which will be more sustainable than the present practices.

The theoretical underpinning of this research is ‘sustainability’ and the ‘supply chain processes’ in order to examine possible improvements in the poultry production process along with waste management. The research adopts the positivist paradigm and ‘design science’ methods with the support of system dynamics (SD) and the case study methods. Initially, a mental model is developed followed by the causal loop diagram based on in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observation techniques. The causal model helps to understand the linkages between the associated variables for each issue. Finally, the causal loop diagram is transformed into a stock and flow (quantitative) model, which is a prerequisite for SD-based simulation modelling. A decision support system (DSS) is then developed to analyse the complex decision-making process along the supply chains.

The findings reveal that integration of the supply chain can bring economic, social and environmental sustainability along with a structured production process. It is also observed that the poultry industry can apply the model outcomes in the real-life practices with minor adjustments. This present research has both theoretical and practical implications. The proposed model’s unique characteristics in mitigating the existing problems are supported by the sustainability and supply chain theories. As for practical implications, the poultry industry in Bangladesh can follow the proposed supply chain structure (as par the research model) and test various policies via simulation prior to its application. Positive outcomes of the simulation study may provide enough confidence to implement the desired changes within the industry and their supply chain networks.

Details

Sustaining Competitive Advantage Via Business Intelligence, Knowledge Management, and System Dynamics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-707-3

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Mary-Anne McNally, Dannielle Cerbone and Warren Maroun

The purpose of this paper is to add to the limited body of interpretive research on integrated reporting by exploring challenges to preparing an integrated report. This is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to the limited body of interpretive research on integrated reporting by exploring challenges to preparing an integrated report. This is done using an integrated thinking framework which stresses the importance of an interconnection between sustainability performance, proactive sustainability management and integrated reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

Detailed interviews with 26 preparers at 9 South African-based organisations highlight practical issues encountered when producing an integrated report.

Findings

Integrated reporting is not consistently seen as a natural part of the business process, despite the relevance of multiple types of capital for organisations’ business models. The new report format is imposed on existing internal processes and reporting protocols which precludes a broad understanding of the purpose of integrated reporting and limits the development of management control systems and a supporting accounting infrastructure. In this constrained environment, reporting guidelines are used as disclosure checklists, stakeholder engagement is limited, systems are not always compatible and data analysis is difficult. Preparers are also unconvinced that integrated reports are taken seriously by investors, further limiting the interconnection between sustainability performance and integrated reporting.

Research limitations/implications

Those charged with governance need to ensure that their organisations are identifying so-called non-financial issues as strategically relevant. Sustainability performance targets need to be clearly defined and linked to specific performance indicators. The management control systems and accounting infrastructure must be planned and developed to assist with the monitoring of sustainability performance and, in turn, to inform what information is included in integrated reports.

Originality/value

This study answers the calls for primary evidence on how integrated reports are prepared and the associated challenges. The findings add to the limited body of interpretive research on the functioning of corporate governance and accounting systems and offers practical insights for preparers and academics.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2018

Merve Kılıç and Cemil Kuzey

This paper aims to investigate the adherence level of current company reports to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) integrated reporting framework…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the adherence level of current company reports to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) integrated reporting framework through analysis of whether and to what extent those reports include the content elements of this framework. This study also aims to examine the impact of corporate sustainability characteristics on the adherence level of current company reports to the integrated reporting framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample for this research comprises the non-financial companies which were listed on Borsa Istanbul, the Turkish stock exchange, as of 31 December 2015. The authors constructed a disclosure index based on the content elements of the IIRC reporting framework. They then measured the integrated reporting disclosure score (IRS) of each company through a manual content analysis of its annual reports and stand-alone sustainability reports. To test the hypotheses, the authors performed a number of statistical analyses.

Findings

The authors determined that current company reports mainly present generic risks rather than company-specific; provide positive information while dismissing negative information; present financial and non-financial initiatives separately; lack a strategic focus; and include backward-looking information rather than forward-looking information. Consistent with the predictions, the authors found that the IRS is significantly and positively associated with sustainability reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) adoption, sustainability index listing and the presence of a sustainability committee.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature by enhancing the understanding of integrated reporting practices through the application of a checklist based upon the IIRC integrated reporting framework. Further, this study contributes to the literature by evaluating the impact of corporate sustainability characteristics on IRS.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

James Guthrie, Francesca Manes-Rossi and Rebecca Levy Orelli

This paper aims to explore the linkages between integrated reporting (IR) and organisations’ internal processes, specifically focusing on investigating the internal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the linkages between integrated reporting (IR) and organisations’ internal processes, specifically focusing on investigating the internal mechanisms of change that can lead organisations to adopt IR disclosure and how this impacts on integrated thinking internally.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon previous analysis and insights provided in the IR academic literature, as well as analysing several directives, policy and framework pronouncements. The study also draws on the management accounting change literature, using it as a lens to observe early adopters’ practice. In addition, it provides detailed case studies considering the internal processes of change in five early adopters of the integrated reporting framework (<IRF>) and whether the adoption leads to internal “integrated thinking”. Five Italian public sector organisations are analysed, and the authors make use of official documents, press releases and in-depth semi-structured interviews with the major internal actors.

Findings

The research highlights that the processes of change in organisations adopting IR is their adoption of a way of thinking, that is, integrated thinking, as a result of the process of internalisation.

Research limitations/implications

Given the short history of IR, this sample is small due to the small number of early adopters.

Originality/value

The paper provides academics and policymakers with insights into the process of change to be considered while adopting the <IRF> and responds to calls in the IR literature for further field-based studies on IR’s impact on internal processes. Also, the paper highlights that the European Directive on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (2014/95/EU) has the potential to increase environmental, social and governance disclosures amongst European companies.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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