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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2021

Nglaa Ahmad, Shamima Haque and Muhammad Azizul Islam

This article aims to examine how non-governmental organisations (NGOs)' narratives portray the vulnerability of workers in global clothing supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to examine how non-governmental organisations (NGOs)' narratives portray the vulnerability of workers in global clothing supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The research analyses the rhetoric in global clothing retailers' and NGOs' counter-rhetoric during the first seven months of 2020.

Findings

During this period, retailers employed rhetorical strategies to legitimise irresponsible actions (corporate hegemony prevailed), while NGOs embraced forms of counter-rhetoric trying to delegitimise the retailers' logic, stressing the role of neoliberalism in worsening the situation.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the literature by providing new insight into the consequences of COVID-19 for retailers' neoliberal practices and the livelihood of workers in global supply chains. Findings of this study extend authors’ knowledge about retailers' COVID-19 measures: These have contributed to the plights of workers working for their supply factories in the global South.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 February 2023

Zhongtian Li, Shamima Haque and Larelle (Ellie) Chapple

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how an influential supplier of electronics manufacturing services (i.e. Foxconn) discloses its labour practices.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how an influential supplier of electronics manufacturing services (i.e. Foxconn) discloses its labour practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is conducted through the theoretical lens of legitimacy and impression management. This particular firm is selected as it provides a rich case on labour practice disclosures in a setting where significant labour malpractice incidents occurred from 2009 to 2011. The sample period covers 12 years of the firm's labour practice disclosures (2008–2019) to match with publicly available information that is used to construct expert comparative accounts on the disclosures. The authors corroborate the comparative accounts with sociological studies and responsibility reports from the major customer (i.e. Apple).

Findings

The authors found that the disclosures become more detailed over successive years. Occupational health and safety issues are predominantly reported, followed by issues relating to vocational guidance and training and then employment policy. Regarding impression management strategies, defensive strategies embedded in the disclosures are rarely detected and assertive strategies are persistently used from 2008 to 2019 to maintain legitimacy. The comparative accounts show the persistent use of one defensive strategy (i.e. omission) to maintain and regain legitimacy. In other words, as an economic strategy, material labour practice issues are persistently omitted in the disclosures. The incidents discernibly affect how Foxconn discloses labour practices.

Originality/value

The authors’ study contributes to the limited extant research on suppliers' labour practice disclosures from the perspective of legitimacy theory and impression management. The results will be of great interest to researchers, investors, assurers and other stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Accounting Literature, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-4607

Keywords

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 to the…

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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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Zhongtian Li, Shamima Haque and Ellie (Larelle) Chapple

This paper aims to examine changes of non-financial voluntary reporting practices over time in response to episodes of employee-related distress. It investigates employee-related…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine changes of non-financial voluntary reporting practices over time in response to episodes of employee-related distress. It investigates employee-related disclosures by the four largest electronic manufacturing services firms in China between 2008 and 2013 during a series of employment-related incidents, to investigate how the firms re-legitimate their reputation in response to the media coverage on those incidents.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of employee-related incidents that occurred in 2010-2012 is selected as the focus of this study, with total coverage of employee-related disclosures between 2008 and 2013. These incidents are directly linked to three of the four sample companies: Foxconn, Pegatron and Compal Electronics. Employee-related disclosures in corporate social responsibility (CSR) stand-alone reports are coded by a set of specifically designed instructions, and newspaper articles about employee-related incidents are coded for sentiment. Results are interpreted through two theoretical lenses: the media agenda setting theory and the legitimacy theory.

Findings

Newspapers reported the employee-related incidents in a way detrimental to the legitimacy of firms that directly involved in the selected industry. In the process of legitimation, firms switch between disclosing more employee-related information and reducing disclosures. The self-expectation on organizational legitimacy also affects how CSR reporting is used in legitimation. The employee-related disclosure analysed is closer to symbolic legitimation than substantive legitimation.

Originality/value

This study contributes to reporting practice by showing that employee-related disclosure is largely vacuous and to a greater extent is used as symbolic legitimation. The quality of disclosure requires significant improvement. This study contributes to the literature by using the legitimacy theory to interpret employee-related disclosure in China, addressing inadequate research efforts in the context of social and human rights dimensions of CSR reporting.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Zhongtian Li and Shamima Haque

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, it investigates whether and to what extent “linguistic hedging”, an impression management form of linguistic expression that conveys…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, it investigates whether and to what extent “linguistic hedging”, an impression management form of linguistic expression that conveys an ambiguous level of commitment, is used in corporate social responsibility (CSR) employment narratives; and second, it explores whether there is any difference in the use of linguistic hedging between written and spoken corporate forms of language. It mobilises these objectives by examining employee-related narratives made by electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers domiciled in Taiwan, in the context of labour malpractice incidents.

Design/methodology/approach

Two groups of data are examined: corporate responsibility reports (written language) and interviews and speeches of corporate founders and senior executives (spoken language). The research sample is ten Taiwanese EMS firms, all of which attracted public criticism and scrutiny due to a series of employee-related incidents. The sample period is between 2009 and 2013. Linguistic hedging is measured quantitatively by the relative word frequency of hedges, using the concordance software ANTCONC, with findings interpreted through the lens of legitimacy theory and impression management.

Findings

The study found that hedging was evident in CSR narratives. The EMS providers in Taiwan appeared to use hedging in employee-related disclosures to manage legitimacy challenges due to employee-related incidents that had happened in their assembly plants. The adjustments in employee-related disclosures made by the EMS firms as a legitimation strategy can be seen as a rhetoric device of impression management or a form of symbolic legitimation to persuade society to restore their legitimacy status. Further, overall hedging was more frequently used in spoken than written language, which suggests that rhetorical hedging in written narratives is more likely to be a deliberate choice of tactics to influence stakeholder perceptions and thereby manage corporate legitimacy.

Originality/value

The study introduces a new analytical technique, linguistic hedging, into the CSR literature. This enriches research methods used in this field, providing more compelling insights into the relationship between the use of language and CSR narratives in the process of corporate legitimation of employee-related practices. This study thus provides a platform for future computational-linguistics studies in the field of CSR.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 March 2022

Arpita Ghosh and Shamima Haque

The study aims to explore the relationship between the dimensions of green intellectual capital (GIC) and employee green behavior (EGB).

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to explore the relationship between the dimensions of green intellectual capital (GIC) and employee green behavior (EGB).

Design/methodology/approach

A survey has been conducted among a random representative population of employees working for the energy-sector organizations in India to collect data for this study. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) for GIC supports the inclusion of the new dimension in its construct. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) validates the measurement model. Hypothesized relationships have been examined by applying structural equation modeling using partial least squares method.

Findings

Results corroborate that all the four dimensions of GIC have varying degrees of significant positive impact on EGB. The study contributes to the existing literature by extending the understanding of the concept of GIC and its connection with EGB using natural-resource based theory and social cognitive theory (SCT).

Originality/value

The study has empirically examined the relationship between GIC and EGB in the context of a developing country like India. Moreover, unlike the existing literature that have classified GIC into green human capital (GHC), green structural capital (GSC) and green relational capital (GRC), the study identifies green spiritual capital (GSpC) as another important dimension of GIC which is an intangible asset and highly relevant in influencing altruistic activities like green behavior. The study presents significant implications for managers and policy-makers for ensuring EGB by investing in GIC resources.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 14 December 2015

Shamima Haque

This chapter explains how the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an important achievement of the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992, instigated interest…

Abstract

This chapter explains how the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an important achievement of the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992, instigated interest in, and enthusiasm for, the fight against climate change in the international arena, promoting national actions, creating common frameworks and motivating corporations to take action against climate change. The Convention recognised climate change as a problem in 1994 when the UNFCCC took effect, which was remarkable considering that there was much less scientific evidence available at that time. Through extensive literature review, this chapter presents the origin and content of the Convention and explains how it creates new international instruments for mitigating climate change, its impact on corporate climate change-related accountability practices and where it stands now after 20 years in operation. The researcher argues that there is a need for strong cooperation among national and international actors such as governments, companies, national and international non-governmental organisations and international governmental organisations in order to create climate change-related accountability.

Details

Sustainability After Rio
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-444-7

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 14 December 2015

Muhammad Azizul Islam, Annette Quayle and Shamima Haque

This chapter focuses on the development of corporate human rights standards since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit…

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the development of corporate human rights standards since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. One of the important agendas for this Summit was human rights (apart from the climate change issue). This chapter provides a critical evaluation of institutional change in human rights guidelines and associated corporate (non) accountability in relation to human rights in line with the RIO summit. Based on a review of the media reports, archival documents and a case study, we argue that while there are a number of international organisations working towards the creation of corporate accountability in relation to human rights, there is limited real change in corporate action when faced with no government regulation. A radical (reform-based) approach, such as mandatory monitoring (compliance audit) and disclosure requirements is necessary to ensure corporate accountability in relation to human rights.

Details

Sustainability After Rio
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-444-7

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 14 December 2015

Abstract

Details

Sustainability After Rio
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-444-7

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 that…

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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

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