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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Michael Jones, Andrea Melis, Silvia Gaia and Simone Aresu

The purpose of this paper is to examine the voluntary disclosure of risk-related issues, with a focus on credit risk, in graphical reporting for listed banks in the major…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the voluntary disclosure of risk-related issues, with a focus on credit risk, in graphical reporting for listed banks in the major European economies. It aims to understand if banks portray credit risk-related information in graphs accurately and whether these graphs provide incremental, rather than replicative, information. It also investigates whether credit risk-related graphs provide a fair representation of risk performance or a more favourable impression than is warranted.

Design/methodology/approach

A graphical accuracy index was constructed. Incremental information was measured. A multi-level linear model investigated whether credit risk affects the quantity and quality of graphical credit risk disclosure.

Findings

Banks used credit risk graphs to provide incremental information. They were also selective, with riskier banks less likely to use risk graphs. Banks were accurate in their graphical reporting, particularly those with high levels of credit risk. These findings can be explained within an impression management perspective taking human cognitive biases into account. Preparers of risk graphs seem to prefer selective omission over obfuscation via inaccuracy. This probably reflects the fact that individuals, and by implication annual report’s users, generally judge the provision of inaccurate information more harshly than the omission of unfavourable information.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides theoretical insights by pointing out the limitations of a purely economics-based agency theory approach to impression management.

Practical implications

The study suggests annual reports’ readers need to be careful about subtle forms of impression management, such as those exploiting their cognitive bias. Regulatory and professional bodies should develop guidelines to ensure neutral and comparable graphical disclosure.

Originality/value

This study provides a substantive alternative to the predominant economic perspective on impression management in corporate reporting, by incorporating a psychological perspective taking human cognitive biases into account.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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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: 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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1158

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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

Vivien W. Forner, Michael Jones, Yoke Berry and Joakim Eidenfalk

Self-determination theory (SDT), offers a theoretical framework for enhancing employee motivation and stimulating positive outcomes such as commitment, well-being and…

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5131

Abstract

Purpose

Self-determination theory (SDT), offers a theoretical framework for enhancing employee motivation and stimulating positive outcomes such as commitment, well-being and engagement, in organizations. This paper aims to investigate the application of SDT among leaders and delineate practical managerial approaches for supporting basic psychological needs in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were 51 leaders who had personally applied SDT with their own followers. Data were collected via free-listing method and analysed to extrapolate examples of SDT-application that are both practically salient and aligned to theoretic tenets of SDT.

Findings

The findings reveal how SDT is operationalized by leaders to support basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness in the workplace. The SDT-informed management strategies are discussed in relation to the literature and alongside case scenarios to illustrate approaches for integrating elements of SDT into day-to-day management activities.

Originality/value

Despite extensive literature support for SDT, very little empirical attention has been paid to examining how the theory is applied, interpreted and/or used by practitioners in real world settings. This research is the first to draw on the lived-experience of practitioners who have applied SDT, contributes previously unexplored strategies for supporting workers’ basic psychological needs and responds to calls for SDT research to identify a broader range of managerial behaviours that support employee motivation.

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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: 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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1079

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 November 2016

Michael Jones and Richard Vines

This paper aims to advocate that significant human and systems-based capabilities (termed “socio-technical capabilities”) need to be developed in government departments…

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1342

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to advocate that significant human and systems-based capabilities (termed “socio-technical capabilities”) need to be developed in government departments and other public sector organisations to support more effective description of information resources, collections and their context in online environments.

Design/methodology/approach

The ideas in this paper draw upon the findings of several action research interventions undertaken within a government department in Victoria in Australia since 2011 as part of a knowledge management initiative. Specific focus is given to the design and development of a new record-centric knowledge curation tool (KCT).

Findings

Effective functioning of KCT relies upon the input of well-structured, standards-based metadata used to describe collections, information resources and their context. The central claim is that the move towards standards-based descriptions will fundamentally change the capabilities required to manage, search for and disseminate knowledge and records.

Research limitations/implications

In addition to the capabilities discussed, management of records and knowledge through time requires commitments to stable repository, workflow and administrative systems, and working with contemporary systems involves technical knowledge such as the use of application programming interfaces. These aspects are not discussed here.

Practical implications

The capabilities discussed in this paper are socio-technical in nature. This means there is a requirement to shift current perspectives about who is responsible for managing organisational information as collections.

Originality/value

While some of the concepts discussed will be familiar to information professionals, the paper provides a unique description of how existing archival and recordkeeping practices are being integrated in innovative ways within organisations outside the information management professions.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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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: 4 March 2019

Absdulsamad Alazzani, Wan Nordin Wan-Hussin and Michael Jones

Very limited research has been devoted to answering the question of whether the religious beliefs of the upper echelons of management and gender diversity have any impacts…

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1848

Abstract

Purpose

Very limited research has been devoted to answering the question of whether the religious beliefs of the upper echelons of management and gender diversity have any impacts on the communication of corporate social responsibility (CSR) information in the marketplace. This study aims to fill the void in the literature by posing the two research questions: first, does the CEO religion affect a firm’s CSR behaviour?; second, do the women on the boards influence CSR reporting?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors performed the tests on a sample of 133 firms listed in Bursa Malaysia that have analysts following using a self-constructed CSR disclosure index based on information in annual reports in 2009. A total of 23 per cent of the sample firms have Muslim CEOs, and women made up only 8 per cent of board members.

Findings

The authors find that Muslim CEOs are significantly associated with greater disclosure of CSR information. The authors also find a moderate relationship between board gender diversity and CSR disclosure. This is probably because of insufficient number of women on boards.

Research limitations/implications

The disclosure index is based on unsubstantiated CSR information provided in annual reports, and the authors examine only two aspects of board diversity, namely, Muslim religiosity and gender mix.

Originality/value

This study advances the research on upper echelons theory by illuminating the importance of religious value in influencing the CSR behaviour of corporate leaders. This has been largely overlooked because of lack of data.

Details

Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-0817

Keywords

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