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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 May 2022

Riccardo Stacchezzini, Cristina Florio, Alice Francesca Sproviero and Silvano Corbella

This paper aims to explore the reporting challenges and related organisational mechanisms of change associated with disclosing corporate risks within integrated reports.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the reporting challenges and related organisational mechanisms of change associated with disclosing corporate risks within integrated reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a Latourian performative approach to explore the organisational mechanisms of change in terms of networks of actors, both “human” and “non-human”, involved in the preparation of risk-related disclosure. Empirical evidence is collected by means of in-depth interviews with the preparers of an integrated reporting pioneer company.

Findings

Preparing disclosure on corporate risks in the context of integrated reporting demands close interaction among several actors. When disclosure shifts from listing key risks to providing information on how these risks are managed or connect with corporate strategy and value creation, departments not usually involved in corporate reporting play an active role and external stakeholders offer pertinent insights, benchmarks and feedback. Integrated reporting and risk management frameworks are the “non-human” actors that facilitate the engagement of diverse “human” actors.

Practical implications

Preparers should be aware that risk disclosure within integrated reports requires collaboration among (“human”) actors belonging to different departments and the engagement of external stakeholders. Preparers should consider the frameworks of integrated reporting and risk management as facilitators of cross-departmental discussions and dialogue, rather than mere contributors of guidelines and recommendations.

Originality/value

This study enriches the scant literature on organisational mechanisms of change made in response to integrated reporting challenges, showing subsequent advancements in the organisational process underlying the preparation of risk disclosure.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 December 2018

Riccardo Stacchezzini, Cristina Florio, Alice Francesca Sproviero and Silvano Corbella

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intellectual capital (IC) ontology in an integrated reporting context to explore the function that integrated report (IR…

1021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intellectual capital (IC) ontology in an integrated reporting context to explore the function that integrated report (IR) preparers assign to IC elements and the role of integrated thinking in this process.

Design/methodology/approach

Social ontology theory helps elucidate how an energy-sector company socially constructed an IC ontology in which IC is a core element of the value creation story told in the IR. The empirical analysis benefited from in-depth interviews with the corporate staff.

Findings

The subjective nature of IC ontology emerges, in that IC’s function is defined during the very process of IR preparation. The intangible elements drive sustainability-oriented financial value creation according to the sustainability approach embraced by the company’s business model. Integrated thinking both facilitates this perspective on IC is shared among various departments of the company and provides a procedure for scrutinising what counts as IC in this integrated reporting context.

Research limitations/implications

The research scope is limited to the IR preparation process. Further research could explore IC ontologies beyond this process.

Originality/value

This study is the first to explore IC ontology empirically within an innovative integrated reporting context. It opens paths to further research on the relationships between IC and integrated thinking.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 27 September 2021

Francesca Rossignoli, Riccardo Stacchezzini and Alessandro Lai

European countries are likely to increasingly adopt integrated reporting (IR) voluntarily, after the 2014/95/EU Directive is revised and other initiatives are implemented…

Abstract

Purpose

European countries are likely to increasingly adopt integrated reporting (IR) voluntarily, after the 2014/95/EU Directive is revised and other initiatives are implemented. Therefore, the present study provides insights on the relevance of IR in voluntary contexts by exploring analysts' reactions to the release of integrated reports in diverse institutional settings.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on voluntary disclosure theory, a quantitative empirical research method is used to explore the moderating role of country-level institutional characteristics on the associations between voluntary IR release and analyst forecast accuracy and dispersion.

Findings

IR informativeness is not uniform in the voluntary context and institutional settings play a moderating role. IR release is associated with increased consensus among analyst forecasts. However, in countries with weak institutional enforcement, a reverse association is detected, indicating that analysts rely largely on IR where the institutional setting strongly protects investors. Although a strong institutional setting boosts the IR release usefulness in terms of accuracy, it creates noise in analyst consensus.

Research limitations/implications

Academics can appreciate the usefulness of voluntary IR across the institutional enforcement contexts.

Practical implications

Managers can use these findings to understand opportunities offered by IR voluntary release. The study recommends that policymakers, standard setters and regulators strengthen the institutional enforcement of sustainability disclosure.

Originality/value

This study is a unique contribution to recent calls for research on the effects of nonfinancial disclosure regulation and on IR “impacts”. It shows on the international scale that IR usefulness for analysts is moderated by institutional patterns, not country-level institutional characteristics.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 December 2021

Giulia Leoni, Alessandro Lai, Riccardo Stacchezzini, Ileana Steccolini, Stephen Brammer, Martina Linnenluecke and Istemi Demirag

This paper introduces the second part of a AAAJ special issue on accounting, accountability and management during the COVID-19 emergency. The authors analyse the themes…

3132

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces the second part of a AAAJ special issue on accounting, accountability and management during the COVID-19 emergency. The authors analyse the themes that emerge from the second part of the special issue, which allows us to identify the diverse accounting and accountability practices across different geographical and organisational contexts. The authors also provide an overall picture of the contributions of the special issue, with insights into avenues of future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on the first part of the AAAJ special issue, the paper draws together and identifies additional emerging themes related to research into the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts accounting, accountability and management practices. The authors reflect on the contributions of the special issue to the interdisciplinary accounting research project.

Findings

The authors identify two macro-themes and outline their contributions to the accounting literature. The first deals with the changes and dangers of accounting and accountability practices during the pandemic. The second considers accountability practices in a broader sense, including reporting, disclosure and rhetorical practices in the management of COVID-19.

Practical implications

The paper shows the pervasive role of accounting and accountability in the unprecedented and indiscriminate health crisis of COVID-19. It highlights the important role of special issues in producing timely research that responds to unfolding events.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to current debates on the roles of accounting and accountability during COVID-19 by drawing together the themes of the special issue and identifying future interdisciplinary accounting research on the pandemic's aftermath.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2021

Giulia Leoni, Alessandro Lai, Riccardo Stacchezzini, Ileana Steccolini, Stephen Brammer, Martina Linnenluecke and Istemi Demirag

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes emerging from the first studies exploring accounting, accountability and management practices during the COVID-19…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes emerging from the first studies exploring accounting, accountability and management practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and coming from a diversity of experiences, across countries, organizations and individuals. In so doing, the paper gives an overview of the most recent findings about the role of accounting and accountability in times of crisis that are hosted in this special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws together and identifies emerging themes related to the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on accounting, accountability and management practices and considers how the studies in this issue extend one’s knowledge of accounting and contribute to accounting research.

Findings

Three emerging themes are drawn and their contribution to accounting scholarship is discussed. The first theme deals with the role of accounting and numbers in supporting governmental responses to COVID-19. The second theme considers accounting practices used to make exceptional decisions at the organizational level in times of crisis. The third theme addresses a relevant frontier of research into accounting and inequalities.

Practical implications

In considering the diverse contributions of this special issue, the paper points out how uncertainty and change can impact the design, use and understanding of accounting, management and accountability practices and can be accepted by scholars and practitioners as part of such practices.

Originality/value

This paper provides a timely and comprehensive picture of the first reflections and research findings on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on one’s interpretation of accounting, accountability and management practices.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 October 2021

Francesca Rossignoli, Riccardo Stacchezzini and Alessandro Lai

Given the limited studies that have started to focus on contexts where integrated reporting (IR) is voluntarily adopted, this paper aims to explore the moderating role of…

Abstract

Purpose

Given the limited studies that have started to focus on contexts where integrated reporting (IR) is voluntarily adopted, this paper aims to explore the moderating role of institutional characteristics on the association between voluntary report release and analyst forecast accuracy.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a quantitative empirical research method grounded on voluntary disclosure theory to provide empirical evidence on an international sample of companies choosing to release integrated reports. Preliminarily, a cluster analysis is used to group countries according to institutional patterns. Multivariate analyses detect the associations between report release choice and analysts’ forecast accuracy across clusters. Multiple econometric approaches are used to address the endogeneity concerns.

Findings

IR release is not informative for the market unless considering systematic variations across different institutional settings. Analysts’ forecast is more accurate for IR adopters located in strong institutional enforcement settings than for all the other companies. In the strong institutional setting that is also characterized by a pluralistic society, IR release benefits for the market are conditioned by the fact that the choice to release IR depends on environmental, governance and social disclosure-based managers remuneration and disclosure requirements. In weak institutional settings, IR release is not beneficial for the forecast accuracy.

Research limitations/implications

Academics and practitioners can gain understanding of the usefulness of voluntary IR across different institutional settings.

Originality/value

The study advances the understanding of the IR’s informativeness, overcoming the common dichotomous distinctions between strong and weak institutional settings.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Alessandro Lai and Riccardo Stacchezzini

This paper aims to trace subsequent steps of the sustainability reporting evolution in terms of changes in the organisation fields and professional jurisdictions involved…

2202

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to trace subsequent steps of the sustainability reporting evolution in terms of changes in the organisation fields and professional jurisdictions involved. As such, it highlights the (interrelated) organisational and professional challenges associated with the progressive incorporation of “sustainability” within corporate reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on Suddaby and Viale’s (2011) theorisation of how professionals reshape organisational fields to highlight how organisational spaces, actors, rules and professional capital evolve alongside the incorporation of sustainability within corporate reporting.

Findings

The paper shows organisational spaces, actors, rules and professional capital mobilised during the recent evolution of sustainability reporting, starting from a period in which there was no space for sustainability, to more recent periods in which sustainability gained increasing momentum beyond initial niches, and culminating in more integrated forms of sustainability reporting.

Research limitations/implications

Although the analysis is limited to empirical evidence collected by prior research and practice on sustainability reporting, the paper offers a view to imagine how the incorporation of sustainability within corporate reporting relies on and affects organisational fields and professional jurisdictions.

Originality/value

The paper offers a lens to interpret corporate and professional challenges associated with the more recent evolutions of sustainability reporting practice and standard setting. It also allows framing the papers accepted in the special issue on “new challenges in sustainability reporting” and concludes by suggesting an agenda for future research.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Alessandro Lai, Gaia Melloni and Riccardo Stacchezzini

This paper aims to understand how the principle of materiality gets implemented in integrated reporting (IR) contexts.

1837

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand how the principle of materiality gets implemented in integrated reporting (IR) contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on an interpretation of materiality as a social construction, this research explores the meaning that practitioners attach to the principle during their implementation of it. Following an existing framework for exploring materiality in corporate reporting, this study investigates the meaning by focusing on who participates in determining IR materiality and to whom the IR is addressed. This analysis benefits from in-depth interviews with persons involved in the preparation of IR for a firm that pioneered this form of reporting.

Findings

In IR preparers’ view, the meaning of materiality corresponds with the company strategy: The IR describes strategic priorities and related actions and results. Capital providers are the primary intended addressees of the material information. Although several actors engage in IR preparation, the materiality determination process is governed by a specific “IR hub” in strict collaboration with and dependence on the chief financial officer.

Research limitations/implications

In an IR context, materiality is intimately connected to the function that preparers assign to the report.

Originality/value

This novel research opens the “black box” of the process by which materiality gets defined and then practically implemented in an IR context.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 May 2018

Alessandro Lai, Gaia Melloni and Riccardo Stacchezzini

The International Integrated Reporting Council claims that integrated reporting (IR) can enhance corporate accountability, yet critical and interpretative studies have…

3200

Abstract

Purpose

The International Integrated Reporting Council claims that integrated reporting (IR) can enhance corporate accountability, yet critical and interpretative studies have contested this outcome. Insufficient empirical research details how preparers experience accountability while constructing IR; to fill this gap, the purpose of this paper is to analyse how the preparers’ mode of cognition influences the patterns of accountability associated with IR.

Design/methodology/approach

A functionalist approach to narratives helps elucidate the role that the IR preparers’ narrative mode of cognition plays on accountability towards stakeholders. The empirical analysis particularly benefits from in-depth interviews with the IR preparers of a global insurer that has used IR since 2013.

Findings

The preparers’ narrative mode of cognition facilitates dialogue with IR users. It addresses accountability tensions by revealing the company’s value creation process. Preparers’ efforts to establish a meaningful dialogue with a growing variety of stakeholders through broader and plainer messages reveals the potential of IR as a narrative source of a socializing form of accountability. However, financial stakeholders remain the primary addressees of the reports.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focusses on preparers’ views; further research should integrate users’ accountability expectations.

Originality/value

This paper offers new insights for dealing with corporate reporting and accountability in a novel IR setting.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 27 April 2020

Riccardo Stacchezzini, Francesca Rossignoli and Silvano Corbella

This article investigates the implementation of a compliance programme (CP) in terms of how practitioners conceive of and execute the responsibilities arising from this…

2090

Abstract

Purpose

This article investigates the implementation of a compliance programme (CP) in terms of how practitioners conceive of and execute the responsibilities arising from this corporate governance mechanism.

Design/methodology/approach

This study involves a practice lens approach forms the case study analysis and interpretation, involving both interviews and documentary materials collected from an Italian company with prolonged compliance experience. Schatzki's (2002, 2010) practice organisation framework guides the interpretation of CP as a practice organised by rules, practical and general understandings and teleoaffective structures.

Findings

CP practice evolves over time. A practical understanding of daily actions required to accomplish the CP and a general understanding of the responsibilities connected with the CP, such as the attitudes with which the CP is performed, are mutually constitutive and jointly favour this evolution. Dedicated artefacts – such as IT platforms, training seminars and compliance performance indicators – help spread both of these types of understanding. These artefacts also align practitioners' general understanding with the CP's teleoaffective structures imposed, including the CP's assigned objectives and the desired reactions to them.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have theoretical and practical implications by revealing the relevance of practitioners' understanding of corporate governance mechanisms in their implementation processes.

Originality/value

This study reveals the potential benefits of practice lens approaches in corporate governance studies. It responds to the call for qualitative studies that demonstrate corporate governance as implemented in daily activities.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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