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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2019

Gloria Agyemang, Brendan O’Dwyer and Jeffrey Unerman

The purpose of this paper is to offer a retrospective and prospective analysis of the themes explored in the 2006 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal special…

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1478

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a retrospective and prospective analysis of the themes explored in the 2006 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal special issue on non-governmental organisation (NGO) accountability.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a reflective review essay.

Findings

The paper outlines how a number of themes in the 2006 special issue addressing downward accountability, hierarchical accountability and management control have been subsequently developed in a selection of papers from the accounting literature. The development of these themes leads to several suggestions for future research in NGO accountability.

Originality/value

The paper offers a systematic, original perspective on recent developments in certain areas of the field of NGO accountability.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Gloria Agyemang, Brendan O’Dwyer, Jeffrey Unerman and Mariama Awumbila

The purpose of this paper is to ascertain how upward accountability processes can be enabling in, or constraining to, the effective deployment of development aid funding.

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2221

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to ascertain how upward accountability processes can be enabling in, or constraining to, the effective deployment of development aid funding.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper derives its primary insights from in-depth interviews and focus groups with non-governmental organization (NGO) fieldworkers working and delivering development aid in Northern Ghana. It analyses inductively the perspectives of fieldworkers to explain their experiences of upward accountability.

Findings

The fieldworkers’ perception of upward accountability was mainly one of external control, in response to which they enacted a skilful form of compliance accountability. This perception of control failed to stifle their initiative and intrinsic commitment to beneficiaries. The fieldworkers craved “conversations for accountability”, in which they had a voice in the development of upward accountability metrics, thereby enabling them to fulfil their sense of felt responsibility to beneficiaries. While aspects of “conversations for accountability” were emerging in fieldworker-funder interactions, it was unclear to what extent funders were committed to further advancing them. Overall, the analysis unveils how felt responsibility mediates for, and partly diminishes, the perceived negative impacts on aid effectiveness of upward accountability processes informed by a focus on control.

Originality/value

The authors examine the potential of upward accountability processes using in-depth analyses of the actual experiences of those involved in delivering NGO services at the grassroots level. The authors contribute to emerging work in this vein by enriching the authors’ understanding of local constituencies’ experiences of accountability processes more generally, especially the impact these mechanisms have on NGO operational activities. The authors also unveil the mediating role fieldworkers’ “felt responsibility” to beneficiaries’ plays in moderating the perceived negative impacts on aid effectiveness of upward accountability processes.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2020

Jan Bebbington and Jeffrey Unerman

This paper introduces a special section devoted to accounting scholarship that addresses the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has three…

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1773

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces a special section devoted to accounting scholarship that addresses the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has three purposes. First, to explore the puzzle of a relative absence of accounting-related scholarship that addresses the SDGs. Second, the papers within the special section are introduced and located within streams of existing research and practice. Third, the paper then suggests framings, approaches and/or conditions under which the authors might see more accounting scholarship in support of advancing the SDGs.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured review of publication patterns in accounting journals over the last five years is undertaken to explore the nature and extent of SDGs-related accounting research. These patterns and foundational accounting literature are used to shape a series of observations and propositions underlying the line of argument developed in the paper.

Findings

Despite the SDGs' prominence in the policy world, and the widespread embrace of their utility for shaping understandings of organizational responsibilities, accounting scholars have been slow to engage in SDGs-motivated research. This gap creates two issues. First, accounting scholarship is less available to the web of knowledge that is being developed about how to enact the ambitions of the SDGs. Second, accounting scholarship is not developing in a way that incorporates SDGs-related challenges facing organizations. This paper suggests ways in which accounting scholarship can overcome these limitations.

Originality/value

Accounting research on the SDGs is in an early stage of development, despite almost five years having elapsed since their formal adoption. This paper highlights avenues for accounting scholars' engagement with the SDGs’ agenda.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2020

Brendan O'Dwyer and Jeffrey Unerman

This paper problematizes TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) reporting in a way that demonstrates areas where academic research can contribute…

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2993

Abstract

Purpose

This paper problematizes TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) reporting in a way that demonstrates areas where academic research can contribute towards realizing the transformative potential of this unique form of sustainability accounting in its early stages of development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes a number of research agendas for impactful interdisciplinary research into new forms of corporate reporting of sustainability risks, opportunities and dependencies.

Findings

There are several major challenges that both reporting corporations and investors need to address in realizing the potential of TCFD style risks, opportunities and dependencies reporting. Key among these is developing new practices of climate-related scenario analysis and reporting.

Practical implications

There is potential for many different academic research studies to provide solid evidence in helping improve the practical impact of TCFD style sustainability reporting. These impacts may assist in moving corporate policies and actions towards zero carbon.

Originality/value

This is the first agenda-setting paper that addresses the need for, and opportunities of, academic research into TCFD reporting and its potential to transform corporate accounting and reporting of sustainability.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Leonardo Rinaldi, Jeffrey Unerman and Charl de Villiers

The purpose of this paper is to identify key challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses experienced by the integrated reporting (IR) idea since the International…

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4843

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify key challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses experienced by the integrated reporting (IR) idea since the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)’s Discussion Paper was published in late 2011. It provides insights into the phases of the IR journey as investigated by accounting researchers, identifies important gaps in the literature and sketches an agenda for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a theoretically informed analysis of published IR research articles using the idea journey theoretical framework. The paper draws upon academic analysis and insights published in 65 IR-related articles across 83 accounting journals listed in the Scopus database.

Findings

A key insight of the paper is that the academic literature has not yet covered all stages of the IR idea journey. The highest proportion of articles provide insights in the generation and production phases of this journey, while there is relatively little research into the impact phase of the IR idea. Furthermore, the locus of research covered by the current IR literature is situated at macro- and meso-levels. This reveals opportunities for future research to explore, at a more detailed level, interactions between single individuals or small groups in implementing or understanding the IR idea.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on the idea journey of the IIRC’s version of IR. It identifies gaps regarding the stages of the IR idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature and suggests some research areas that need to be addressed to help inform improvements in policy and practice. A key limitation is that it draws on a single communication channel, namely, academic articles published in accounting journals, but it provides opportunities for considerable further developments.

Originality/value

The paper extends IR research by reconciling insights from an understandably fragmented emerging literature. It provides a multi-dimensional perspective on IR, highlighting the dynamics and interrelationships in the literature. It also helps inform improvements in research, policy and practice by identifying gaps regarding the stages of the IR idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature. Lastly, the paper builds on the work of innovation and creativity scholars showing how the idea journey framework can be used to shape and add coherence to accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Jan Bebbington and Jeffrey Unerman

The purpose of this paper is to establish and advance the role of academic accounting in the pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are…

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30094

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish and advance the role of academic accounting in the pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are regarded as the most salient point of departure for understanding and achieving environmental and human development ambitions up to (and no doubt beyond) the year 2030.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a synthesis of interdisciplinary perspectives on sustainable development and integration of this with the accounting for sustainability literature. In addition, potential accounting research contributions are proposed so as to support the development of new research avenues.

Findings

Existing research in accounting that is relevant to individual SDGs serves as an initial link between them and the accounting discipline. At the same time, the SDGs focus highlights new sites for empirical work (including interdisciplinary investigations) as well as inviting innovation in accounting theoretical frameworks. Moreover, the SDGs provide a context for (re)invigorating accounting’s contribution to sustainable development debates.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to explore the roles academic accounting can play in furthering achievement of the SDGs through enhanced understanding, critiquing and advancing of accounting policy, practice and theorizing. It is also the first paper to propose a research agenda in this area.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Jeffrey Unerman

This paper aims to provide a commentary on evidence presented and issues raised by Egan (2018) regarding LGBT+ diversity initiatives in the accountancy profession.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a commentary on evidence presented and issues raised by Egan (2018) regarding LGBT+ diversity initiatives in the accountancy profession.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is an invited commentary based on the author’s experiences of LGBT+ and other diversity initiatives in the profession.

Findings

There is cause for optimism in how far the profession has progressed in some countries on supporting LGBT+ (and other forms of) diversity.

Practical implications

As multinational accountancy firms can be agents for change in countries where there remains considerable discrimination and hostility to LGBT+ (and other) communities, constructive critique to help further improve the firms’ innovative actions on LGBT+ and other diversity issues could have a major positive impact on social justice. Egan (2018) is an example of such constructive critique.

Social implications

Where other academic studies take a disparagingly critical approach, they risk both squandering the opportunity to help achieve the progress they espouse and discouraging other firms embracing innovative diversity practices.

Originality/value

This study provides a counter perspective to some critical accounting arguments that appear to value idealism over progress.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 9 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2014

Richard Laughlin

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5…

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776

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5 March 2014. It celebrates Tony Lowe’s considerable direct contributions to accounting knowledge and, possibly more significantly, his indirect contribution through his enabling of a range of those associated with him at Sheffield to become scholars of distinction in their own right.

Design/methodology/approach

Publication review, personal reflections and argument.

Findings

Apart from providing insight into Tony Lowe's direct contribution to accounting knowledge through an analysis of a range of significant sole authored and joint authored publications, the paper gives rather more attention to his more indirect enabling contribution. In this regard it traces the development of initially the Management Control Association and subsequently the “Sheffield School” to Tony Lowe, clarifying the values that underlie these groups. It also clarifies how some of the key elements that have allowed the now global Interdisciplinary and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (ICPA) Project to exist and flourish are traceable to Tony Lowe and the “Sheffield School” he created.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides an important historical analysis of the direct and indirect influence of a unique scholar on the beginnings and development of particularly the now global ICPA Project. This history is personal and maybe selective and possibly limited because of this but hopefully will encourage others to investigate the claims further.

Originality/value

The history of the ICPA Project has only partially been told before. This is another part of this history that has not been analysed before on which further work can build.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

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151

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2021

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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