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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Alonso Moreno, Michael John Jones and Martin Quinn

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally analyse the evolution of multiple narrative textual characteristics in the chairman’s statements of Guinness from 1948 to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally analyse the evolution of multiple narrative textual characteristics in the chairman’s statements of Guinness from 1948 to 1996, with the aim of studying impression management influences. It attempts to contribute insights on impression management over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper attempts to contribute to external accounting communication literature, by building on the socio-psychological tradition within the functionalist-behavioural transmission perspective. The paper analyses multiple textual characteristics (positive, negative, tentative, future and external references, length, numeric references and first person pronouns) over 49 years and their potential relationship to profitability. Other possible disclosure drivers are also controlled.

Findings

The findings show that Guinness consistently used qualitative textual characteristics with a self-serving bias, but did not use those with a more quantitative character. Continual profits achieved by the company, and the high corporate/personal reputation of the company/chairpersons, inter alia, may well explain limited evidence of impression management associated with quantitative textual characteristics. The context appears related to the evolution of the broad communication pattern.

Practical implications

Impression management is likely to be present in some form in corporate disclosures of most companies, not only those companies with losses. If successful, financial reporting quality may be undermined and capital misallocations may result. Companies with a high public exposure such as those with a high reputation or profitability may use impression management in a different way.

Originality/value

Studies analysing multiple textual characteristics in corporate narratives tend to focus on different companies in a single year, or in two consecutive years. This study analyses multiple textual characteristics over many consecutive years. It also gives an original historical perspective, by studying how impression management relates to its context, as demonstrated by a unique data set. In addition, by using the same company, the possibility that different corporate characteristics between companies will affect results is removed. Moreover, Guinness, a well-known international company, was somewhat unique as it achieved continual profits.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Silvia Gaia and Michael John Jones

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current nature and content of biodiversity reporting practices adopted by English local councils. By adopting a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current nature and content of biodiversity reporting practices adopted by English local councils. By adopting a multi-theoretical framework that relies on economic and social theories such as agency, stakeholder, legitimacy and institutional theories, this study also aims to investigate the factors that explain the extent of biodiversity disclosure provided by local councils.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a self-constructed disclosure index to analyse the biodiversity-related information published in the official websites of 351 English local councils. A multivariate analysis was conducted to analyse the association between local councils’ characteristics and biodiversity disclosure.

Findings

This study shows that the information disclosed on local biodiversity is limited and does not allow the interested stakeholders to get a comprehensive picture of the current status of local biodiversity. It also provides evidence that the level of biodiversity disclosure is significantly associated with the level of local council’s population, the presence of councillors from environmentally oriented parties and environmental non-governmental organisations operating in the local council area, poor biodiversity management practices and local councils’ visibility.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few accounting studies that provides a comprehensive analysis of biodiversity disclosure by analysing its nature and content and investigating the factors associated with such disclosure. It extends agency, stakeholder, institutional and legitimacy theories, by showing that local councils use voluntary disclosures to satisfy the informational needs of the main stakeholders and to assure that their strategies and practices conform to the values and expectations of the community they represent.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Chinyere Uche, Emmanuel Adegbite and Michael John Jones

The purpose of this paper is to investigate institutional shareholder activism in Nigeria. It addresses the paucity of empirical research on institutional shareholder…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate institutional shareholder activism in Nigeria. It addresses the paucity of empirical research on institutional shareholder activism in sub-Saharan Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses agency theory to understand the institutional shareholder approach to shareholder activism in Nigeria. The data are collected through qualitative interviews with expert representatives from financial institutions.

Findings

The findings indicate evidence of low-level shareholder activism in Nigeria. The study provides empirical insight into the reasons why institutional shareholders might adopt an active or passive approach to shareholder activism. The findings suggest the pension structure involving two types of pension institutions affects the ability to engage in shareholder activism.

Research limitations/implications

The research study advances our understanding of the status quo of institutional shareholder activism in an African context such as Nigeria.

Practical implications

The paper makes a practical contribution by highlighting that regulators need to consider how the financial market conditions and characteristics affect effective promotion of better governance practices and performance through shareholder activism.

Originality/value

This study draws attention to the implication for shareholder activism of complexities associated with an institutional arrangement where two types of financial institutions are expected to operate and manage the private pension funds in a country.

Details

Corporate Governance, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Alpa Dhanani and Michael John Jones

Editorial boards of academic journals represent a key institutional mechanism in the governance and functioning of the academic community. Board members play an important…

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1168

Abstract

Purpose

Editorial boards of academic journals represent a key institutional mechanism in the governance and functioning of the academic community. Board members play an important role in knowledge production and development of the discipline. The purpose of this paper is to enquire into the diversity characteristics of boards of accounting journals.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on a diversity framework that distinguishes between societal diversity and value of diversity, the paper examines two board characteristics: gender diversity and internationalisation. Moreover, it examines the influence of three journal and two editor characteristics on board diversity and analyses trends over time.

Findings

On gender, overall board trends are consistent with societal diversity and value of diversity: boards reflect the gender profile of senior academics. Further, female representation on boards is broadly consistent across the different journal nationalities; has improved over time; has experienced a convergence in “gender sensitive” sub-disciplines; and is influenced by female editorship. However, inequities appear to be present at the highest level: women appear to be less well represented than men as editors and women also have a lower representation on boards of higher ranked journals than on those of lower ranked journals. On internationalisation, once again, overall trends broadly reflect societal diversity and value at diversity. However, international scholars are less well represented on 4* boards than on 2* and 3* boards and on US boards than on Australian and UK boards. Further, there are signs of weakening US dominance in non-US journals.

Originality/value

Drawing on the diversity framework, this is the first study to comprehensively examine gender diversity and internationalisation of accounting boards.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Silvia Gaia and Michael John Jones

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of narratives in biodiversity reports as a mechanism to raise the awareness of biodiversity’s importance. By classifying…

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1106

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of narratives in biodiversity reports as a mechanism to raise the awareness of biodiversity’s importance. By classifying biodiversity narratives into 14 categories of biodiversity values this paper investigates whether the explanations for biodiversity conservation used by UK local councils are line with shallow, intermediate or deep philosophies.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used content analysis to examine the disclosures on biodiversity’s importance in the biodiversity action plans published by UK local councils. The narratives were first identified and then allocated into 14 categories of biodiversity value. Then, they were ascribed to either shallow (resource conservation, human welfare ecology and preservationism), intermediate (environmental stewardship and moral extensionism) or deep philosophies.

Findings

UK local councils explained biodiversity’s importance mainly in terms of its instrumental value, in line with shallow philosophies such as human welfare ecology and resource conservation. UK local councils sought to raise awareness of biodiversity’ importance by highlighting values that are important for the stakeholders that are able to contribute towards biodiversity conservation such as landowners, residents, visitors, business and industries. The authors also found that local councils’ biodiversity strategies were strongly influenced by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the few accounting studies that engages with the literature on environmental ethics to investigate biodiversity. In line with stakeholder theory, it indicates that explanations on biodiversity’s importance based on anthropocentric philosophies are considered more effective in informing those stakeholders whose behaviour needs to be changed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2021

Muhammad Azizul Islam, Shamima Haque, Sharon Henderson, Michael John Jones and Homaira Semeen

This study aims to investigate whether United Kingdom (UK)-based companies have changed their voluntary disclosures on curbing the bribery of foreign officials in response…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate whether United Kingdom (UK)-based companies have changed their voluntary disclosures on curbing the bribery of foreign officials in response to the UK Bribery Act 2010, and if so whether and how such disclosure changes substantively reflected allegations of bribery of foreign officials by news media.

Design/methodology/approach

By using the notions of institutional pressure and decoupling and applying content and thematic analysis, the authors examined, in particular, disclosures on curbing bribery by the largest 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange in periods before and after the Bribery Act (2007–2012). News media reports covering incidents of bribery of foreign officials and related corporate disclosures before and after the Act were thoroughly examined to problematise corporate anti-bribery disclosure practices.

Findings

The study finds a significant change in disclosure on curbing bribery before and after the enactment of the UK Bribery Act, consistent with the notion of institutional coercive pressure. However, decoupling is also found: organisations' disclosures did not substantively reflect incidents of bribing foreign public officials, mostly from underprivileged developing nations.

Research limitations/implications

This study acknowledges a limitation stemming from using media reports that focus on bribery incidents in identifying actual cases or incidents of bribery. As some of the incidents identified from news media reports appeared to be allegations, not convictions for bribery, companies could have defensible reasons for not disclosing some aspects of them.

Practical implications

Regulators should think why new or more regulations without substantive requirement are not helpful to curb corporate decoupling and injustice. The regulators should address the crisis that multinational companies (MNCs) being suppliers of bribery are much more harmful for the underprivileged communities in developing nations. Accordingly, this paper provides practical insights into how stakeholders ought to critically interpret MNCs' accounts of their involvement in bribery.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the accounting literature by problematising MNCs' operations in underprivileged countries. The findings suggest that not only public officials in developing countries as creators of bribery but also Western-based MNCs as the suppliers of bribery contribute to perpetuating unethical practices and injustices to the underprivileged communities in developing countries. This research is imperative as this is one of the first known studies that provides evidence of the actions including disclosure-related actions companies have taken in response to the UK Bribery Act.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2013

Michael John Jones and Jill Frances Solomon

This paper seeks to problematise “accounting for biodiversity” and to provide a framework for analysing and understanding the role of accounting in preserving and…

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9047

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to problematise “accounting for biodiversity” and to provide a framework for analysing and understanding the role of accounting in preserving and enhancing biodiversity on Planet Earth. The paper aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to address biodiversity loss and extinction and the need for corporations to discharge accountability for their part in the current biodiversity crisis by accounting for their biodiversity‐related strategies and policies. Such accounting is, it is believed, emancipatory and leads to engendering change in corporate behaviour and attitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed the literature relating to biodiversity across a wide array of disciplines including anthropology, biodiversity, ecology, finance, philosophy, and of course, accounting, in order to build an image of the current state of biodiversity and the role which accounting can and “should” play in the future of biodiversity.

Findings

It is found that the problems underlying accounting for biodiversity fall into four broad categories: philosophical and scientific problems, accountability problems, technical accounting problems, and problems of accounting practice.

Practical implications

Through establishing a framework problematising biodiversity, a roadmap is laid out for researchers and practitioners to navigate a route for future research and policymaking in biodiversity accounting. It is concluded that an interdisciplinary approach to accounting for biodiversity is crucial to ensuring effective action on biodiversity and for accounting for biodiversity to achieve its emancipatory potential.

Originality/value

Although there is a wealth of sustainability reporting research, there is hardly any work exploring the role of accounting in preserving and enhancing biodiversity. There is no research exploring the current state of accounting for biodiversity. This paper summarises the current state of biodiversity using an interdisciplinary approach and introduces a series of papers devoted to the role of accounting in biodiversity accepted for this AAAJ special issue. The paper also provides a framework identifying the diverse problems associated with accounting for biodiversity.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1997

Michael John Jones and David Parker

There is an evolving literature on comparative international accounting (see Meek and Saudagaren (1990) and Wallace and Gernon (1991) for comprehensive reviews). Many of…

Abstract

There is an evolving literature on comparative international accounting (see Meek and Saudagaren (1990) and Wallace and Gernon (1991) for comprehensive reviews). Many of these studies utilise corporate annual reports either directly or indirectly. Direct usage of corporate annual reports has been used to explore a variety of topics. For example, Choi and Bavishi (1982) and Cairns, Lafferty and Mantle (1984) looked at the quantity and nature of corporate financial disclosure; Gray (1978) explored segmental disclosures; and Choi (1973) examined voluntary disclosure. Indirect usage involves data synthesised from annual reports. For example, Datastream and the Financial Times 500, inter alia, provide a selection of data, such as sales and profit figures, extracted from corporate annual reports. This data is then used by a variety of users, such as industrial analysts and academics.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2002

Vivien Beattie and Michael John Jones

Graphs in corporate annual reports are a double‐edged sword. While they offer the potential for improved communication of accounting information to users, the preparers of…

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5007

Abstract

Graphs in corporate annual reports are a double‐edged sword. While they offer the potential for improved communication of accounting information to users, the preparers of the annual reports can easily manipulate the graphs for their own interests. For over a decade, the empirical financial graphics literature has focused on examining company reporting practices. A particular concern has been measurement distortion, which violates a fundamental principle of graph construction. Unfortunately, it is not yet known whether observed levels of measurement distortion are likely to affect users’ perceptions of financial performance. This study uses an experimental approach to address this issue. Pairs of graphs are shown to establish the level of difference that is just noticeable to graph readers. Six levels of “distortion” are investigated (5 per cent, 10 per cent, 20 per cent, 30 per cent, 40 per cent and 50 per cent). Results indicate that if financial graphs are to avoid distorting the perceptions of users, then no measurement distortions in excess of 10 per cent should be allowed. Users with lower levels of financial understanding appear to be most at risk of being misled by distorted graphs. Further research will be necessary to investigate whether this impact upon perceptions subsequently affects users’ decisions in specific contexts.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Mark A. Clatworthy and Michael John Jones

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effect of financial performance on the textual characteristics of the chairman's statement. In particular, given the increased…

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7783

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effect of financial performance on the textual characteristics of the chairman's statement. In particular, given the increased motives for poorly performing management to engage in impression management, the paper focuses on whether companies' reporting strategies depend on underlying financial performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The research questions are investigated by examining a range of textual characteristics in the chairman's statements of 100 extremely profitable and extremely unprofitable UK listed companies.

Findings

The results in this paper indicate that the chairman's statement is subject to impression management techniques as managers' propensity to associate themselves with company financial results is associated with the firm's underlying financial performance. There is also some evidence that unprofitable companies focus more on the future, rather than on past performance.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows the results of this study are based on samples of extremely profitable or extremely unprofitable companies and thus represent the tails of the distribution; further research using random sampling could investigate the extent to which the findings hold for all companies. Additional factors, such as changes in board membership, could also be examined in future research.

Practical implications

The research in this paper has implications for the current state of financial reporting whereby auditors do not formally audit, but instead review, the chairman's statement to ascertain its consistency with the financial statements.

Originality/value

The paper will be of value to academic researchers in the field of impression management and to users of annual reports who may rely on the chairman's statement for decision making.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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