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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Michael Rogerson, Andrew Crane, Vivek Soundararajan, Johanne Grosvold and Charles H. Cho

This paper investigates how organisations are responding to mandatory modern slavery disclosure legislation. Experimentalist governance suggests that organisations faced…

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1385

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates how organisations are responding to mandatory modern slavery disclosure legislation. Experimentalist governance suggests that organisations faced with disclosure requirements such as those contained in the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 will compete with one another, and in doing so, improve compliance. The authors seek to understand whether this is the case.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is set in the UK public sector. The authors conduct interviews with over 25% of UK universities that are within the scope of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and examine their reporting and disclosure under that legislation.

Findings

The authors find that, contrary to the logic of experimentalist governance, universities' disclosures as reflected in their modern slavery statements are persistently poor on detail, lack variation and have led to little meaningful action to tackle modern slavery. They show that this is due to a herding effect that results in universities responding as a sector rather than independently; a built-in incapacity to effectively manage supply chains; and insufficient attention to the issue at the board level. The authors also identity important boundary conditions of experimentalist governance.

Research limitations/implications

The generalisability of the authors’ findings is restricted to the public sector.

Practical implications

In contexts where disclosure under the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 is not a core offering of the sector, and where competition is limited, there is little incentive to engage in a “race to the top” in terms of disclosure. As such, pro-forma compliance prevails and the effectiveness of disclosure as a tool to drive change in supply chains to safeguard workers is relatively ineffective. Instead, organisations must develop better knowledge of their supply chains and executives and a more critical eye for modern slavery to be combatted effectively. Accountants and their systems and skills can facilitate this development.

Originality/value

This is the first investigation of the organisational processes and activities which underpin disclosures related to modern slavery disclosure legislation. This paper contributes to the accounting and disclosure modern slavery literature by investigating public sector organisations' processes, activities and responses to mandatory reporting legislation on modern slavery.

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2018

Mark Stevenson and Rosanna Cole

The purpose of this study is to examine how organisations report on the detection and remediation of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains and to understand…

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7115

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how organisations report on the detection and remediation of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains and to understand their approaches to disclosing information in response to modern slavery legislation.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis of secondary data based on the statements is released in response to the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act by 101 firms in the clothing and textiles sector.

Findings

Many firms use the same practices to detect and remediate modern slavery as for other social issues. But the hidden, criminal nature of modern slavery and the involvement of third party labour agencies mean practices need to either be tailored or other more innovative approaches developed, including in collaboration with traditional and non-traditional actors. Although five broad types of disclosure are identified, there is substantial heterogeneity in the statements. It is posited however that firms will converge on a more homogenous set of responses over time.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to one industry, responses to UK legislation and the information disclosed by focal firms only. Future research could expand the focus to include other industries, country contexts and stakeholders.

Practical implications

Managers must consider how their own firm’s behaviour contributes to the modern slavery threat, regulates both their stock and non-stock supply chains and ensures modern slavery is elevated from the procurement function to the boardroom. In making disclosures, managers may trade-off the potential competitive gains of transparency against the threat of information leakage and reputational risk should their statements be falsified. The managers should also consider what signals their statements send back up the chain to (sub-)suppliers. Findings also have potential policy implications.

Originality/value

The study expands the authors’ understanding of: modern slavery from a supply chain perspective, e.g. identifying the importance of standard setting and risk avoidance; and, supply chain information disclosure in response to legislative demands. This is the first academic paper to examine the statements produced by organisations in response to the UK Modern Slavery Act.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1977

A distinction must be drawn between a dismissal on the one hand, and on the other a repudiation of a contract of employment as a result of a breach of a fundamental term…

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1616

Abstract

A distinction must be drawn between a dismissal on the one hand, and on the other a repudiation of a contract of employment as a result of a breach of a fundamental term of that contract. When such a repudiation has been accepted by the innocent party then a termination of employment takes place. Such termination does not constitute dismissal (see London v. James Laidlaw & Sons Ltd (1974) IRLR 136 and Gannon v. J. C. Firth (1976) IRLR 415 EAT).

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Matthew Haigh

Recently enacted Australian law governing financial services requires investment managers to report to what extent social considerations are employed in portfolio…

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2657

Abstract

Purpose

Recently enacted Australian law governing financial services requires investment managers to report to what extent social considerations are employed in portfolio construction. Using the principal‐agent framework as an interpretive backdrop, the paper aims to analyse institutional responses to the introduction of the legislation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper distinguishes formal, claimed accountabilities from practised accountabilities. It identifies practised accountabilities by examining legislative requirements, noting responses of mainstream investment banking institutions in the period of legislative development, interviewing a sample of investment managers, and examining a sample of information disclosures issued in the initial period of the legislation.

Findings

The paper finds that while appeasing investment managers and the lobby group that urged for the disclosures, the non‐prescriptive regulations promise little in terms of promoting the integrity of management practices. Initial disclosures were poor, providing little basis for comparability.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a basis to investigate accountabilities in service‐based contractual relationships, particularly managed investments.

Originality/value

The paper introduces a new research field: social reporting in financial services. The period reviewed was the initial reporting period in which Australian practitioners were required to issue social reports. Counterpart European legislation has not attracted scholarly attention. A contribution is made to critical research on social investment.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2019

Katherine Leanne Christ, Kathyayini Kathy Rao and Roger Leonard Burritt

Given the impending introduction of legislation requiring large Australian listed companies to make supply chain disclosures about modern slavery, the paper aims to reveal…

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3026

Abstract

Purpose

Given the impending introduction of legislation requiring large Australian listed companies to make supply chain disclosures about modern slavery, the paper aims to reveal current voluntary practice. The purpose of this paper is to provide a benchmark for assessing the current engagement of large companies with modern slavery in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

Institutional theory provides the foundation for assessing current voluntary practice in relation to modern slavery disclosures by large Australian listed companies. Content analysis is used to identify quantity and quality of modern slavery disclosures of the top 100 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The contents of annual and standalone reports available on websites, as well as other online disclosures, are examined using terms associated with modern slavery identified from the literature.

Findings

Evidence gathered about modern slavery disclosures by ASX 100 companies shows information in annual and standalone reports reveal far less than other disclosures on company websites. Overall, the volume and quality of disclosures are low and, where made, narrative. A wide range of themes on modern slavery are disclosed with bribery and corruption and human rights issues dominant. Although currently in line with institutional theory, as there appear to be mimetic processes encouraging disclosure, results support the idea that legislation is needed to encourage further engagement.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a baseline of understanding about the volume and quality of modern slavery disclosures as a foundation for future research into the practices of Australian companies prior to the signalled introduction of legislation mandating reporting. It also identifies potential lines of research. The sample only examines large Australian listed companies which restricts generalisation from the results.

Originality/value

This is the first academic research paper to examine quantity and quality of modern slavery disclosures of large Australian companies. Results add support for the introduction of legislation by government.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

Rocco R. Vanasco

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and its amendment – the Trade and Competitive Act of 1988 – are unique not only in the history of the accounting and…

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3867

Abstract

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and its amendment – the Trade and Competitive Act of 1988 – are unique not only in the history of the accounting and auditing profession, but also in international law. The Acts raised awareness of the need for efficient and adequate internal control systems to prevent illegal acts such as the bribery of foreign officials, political parties and governments to secure or maintain contracts overseas. Its uniqueness is also due to the fact that the USA is the first country to pioneer such a legislation that impacted foreign trade, international law and codes of ethics. The research traces the history of the FCPA before and after its enactment, the role played by the various branches of the United States Government – Congress, Department of Justice, Securities Exchange commission (SEC), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the contributions made by professional associations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICFA), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the American Bar Association (ABA); and, finally, the role played by various international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). A cultural, ethical and legalistic background will give a better understanding of the FCPA as wll as the rationale for its controversy.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 14 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1997

Andrew J Lemon and Steven F Cahan

This paper examines the environmental disclosure decisions of New Zealand firms in response to political costs arising from the enactment of the Resource Management Act…

Abstract

This paper examines the environmental disclosure decisions of New Zealand firms in response to political costs arising from the enactment of the Resource Management Act (RMA) in 1991. Unlike prior disclosure studies, this study provides a more rigorous test of the political cost hypothesis by identifying firms that were directly affected by RMA and by measuring the change in environmental disclosures over the pre‐ to post‐RMA period. We hypothesise that the increase in environmental disclosures will be a positive function of the firm's political visibility. Using six different measures of political visibility and three composite measures derived from a factor analysis of the individual measures, the evidence indicates that, in general, politically visible firms were more likely to increase their environmental disclosures after RMA whether the change was measured on a dichotomous or continuous basis. Overall these results provide support for the political cost hypothesis.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

C.J. de Villiers

Previous research has highlighted a contradiction in regard to environmental reporting in South Africa. Managers, who can influence decisions regarding disclosure, express…

Abstract

Previous research has highlighted a contradiction in regard to environmental reporting in South Africa. Managers, who can influence decisions regarding disclosure, express the view that more environmental reporting is needed, yet very little such reporting is done. A questionnaire was sent to every company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) with the request that the financial director should complete it. The questionnaire set out to establish whether managers are still as positive about environmental reporting as reported in previous research findings and, furthermore, to determine the reasons for the dearth of environmental reporting. Managers are still as positive as before about environmental reporting. The reasons for not reporting range from the contention that data is not available, that there are no legal requirements and that there is no demand for the data to the contention that it is not applicable to the particular industry and that costs exceed benefits. Most respondents do not regard the fear of liability to be a very important reason for non‐disclosure. The most important reason for non‐disclosure is that there is no legal requirement in respect of disclosure. This reason, together with the positive attitude of directors towards environmental reporting in general and towards reporting on a compulsory basis in particular, makes a strong case for the introduction of legislation in this regard. The introduction of legislation could be achieved by amending the Fourth Schedule of the Companies’ Act or the introduction by The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) of a statement of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) on environmental disclosure.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1022-2529

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1978

The Equal Pay Act 1970 (which came into operation on 29 December 1975) provides for an “equality clause” to be written into all contracts of employment. S.1(2) (a) of the…

Abstract

The Equal Pay Act 1970 (which came into operation on 29 December 1975) provides for an “equality clause” to be written into all contracts of employment. S.1(2) (a) of the 1970 Act (which has been amended by the Sex Discrimination Act 1975) provides:

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 7 February 2014

Mohamed Chelli, Sylvain Durocher and Jacques Richard

The paper seeks to adopt an institutional view of legitimacy to examine how a sample of French companies reacted to the introduction of the “New Economic Regulations” in…

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3579

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to adopt an institutional view of legitimacy to examine how a sample of French companies reacted to the introduction of the “New Economic Regulations” in French law in 2001 requiring that publicly listed companies disclose environmental information.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach used in the paper is both quantitative and qualitative. A content analysis of environmental disclosure provided in annual reports, environmental reports and web sites by 26 French companies listed in the CAC 40 is performed throughout the period 2001-2011.

Findings

The findings of this study show a significant and enduring improvement in the quality and quantity of environmental disclosure from 2001 to 2011. Even in the absence of penalties for non-compliance, the NRE law stimulated a stark and positive lasting change in the way that French companies account for their environmental information. These findings are consistent with the institutional view of legitimacy theory whereby legislation provides corporate managers with a representation of relevant audiences' perceptions about social and environmental reporting, prompting them to comply with the law to ensure organizational legitimacy.

Originality/value

Social and environmental reporting studies generally adopt a strategic view of legitimacy to examine how organizations use social and environmental reporting to respond strategically to legitimacy threats. This study provides early empirical evidence about the relevance of institutional legitimacy theory in explaining environmental reporting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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