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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2020

Prabanga Thoradeniya, Aldónio Ferreira, Janet Lee and Rebecca Tan

Drawing upon Abrahamson's (1991) typology of innovation diffusion, this study aims to investigate the factors underpinning diffusion of sustainability key performance

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing upon Abrahamson's (1991) typology of innovation diffusion, this study aims to investigate the factors underpinning diffusion of sustainability key performance indicators (SKPIs) in a developing country.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study was conducted in Sri Lanka involving semi-structured interviews with managers, as users of SKPIs (demand-side), and both consultants and academics, as agents in diffusion process (supply-side).

Findings

Diffusion of SKPIs was found to be driven by efficient-choice considerations, with fashion motives intertwined with these. The diffusion was influenced by developing country context issues relating to market competition, education, government and culture. It was somewhat surprising that market forces played a key role to the extent they did. Minimal stakeholder pressure was found to undermine the diffusion process, contrasting with developed countries in which key stakeholders act as catalysts. The developing country context appears to slow down the pace, rather than alter the pattern, of diffusion of SKPIs.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited by its focus on SKPI adopters, which does not permit to draw insights regarding motivations of non-adopters.

Originality/value

This study draws upon Abrahamson's typology to explore the diffusion of SKPIs in the poorly understood developing country context. The findings provide insights into driving forces behind diffusion of SKPIs, suggesting the developing country context creates “stickiness” that influences pace rather than the pattern of diffusion of SKPIs.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Amanpreet Kaur and Sumit Lodhia

The purpose of this paper is to examine how stakeholders are engaged in the sustainability accounting and reporting processes of Australian local councils.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how stakeholders are engaged in the sustainability accounting and reporting processes of Australian local councils.

Design/methodology/approach

Managerial stakeholder theory through the use of the notion of stakeholder salience provides a theoretical basis for exploring stakeholder engagement in the sustainability accounting and reporting process. Case study research was used to explore the stakeholder engagement practices of three Australian local councils. Data collection methods included interviews and document analysis.

Findings

The findings of this research identified the importance of stakeholder engagement in the entire sustainability accounting and reporting process, the development of strategic plans and sustainability indicators, the measurement of sustainability performance and the preparation of sustainability reports.

Research limitations/implications

This study, by integrating the sustainability accounting and reporting literature with the stakeholder salience concepts of power, legitimacy, urgency and proximity, illustrates the critical role of stakeholder engagement in the sustainability accounting and reporting process of three local councils.

Practical implications

This study has implications for public sector organisations (PSOs) and their stakeholders in relation to stakeholder engagement in sustainability accounting and reporting. The findings of this study will also be useful to corporations in understanding the importance of stakeholder engagement in sustainability accounting and reporting.

Social implications

The public sector is expected to be a leader in sustainability and this paper provides evidence of three councils who through their stakeholder engagement provide exemplars of useful practices that could be adopted by other entities.

Originality/value

Prior research in PSOs has primarily focused on the sustainability accounting and reporting process but has given limited consideration to the involvement of stakeholders. The focus on stakeholder engagement through the use of managerial stakeholder theory extends the role of stakeholders from merely being an audience for sustainability reports to an influential contributor in the sustainability accounting and reporting process.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 12 March 2020

Sergio Paternostro

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of…

Abstract

There are still many different theoretical approaches and practical interpretations about what an integrated report is. Starting from this premise, the overall purpose of this chapter is to critically analyze the relationship between integrated reporting (IR) and social/sustainability disclosure. Indeed, although some scholars considered IR as a tool to improve the sustainability approach of the companies allowing to disclose more relevant social information, others are more critical about the potentiality of IR to improve social disclosure. Therefore, the general research question is: Is there a natural link between IR and social disclosure (true love) or is the IR a practice to “normalize” the social disclosure and accounting (forced marriage)?

In the attempt to provide a preliminary answer to the research question, the chapter analyzes what is the approach of three categories: (1) academics; (2) soft-regulators; and (3) companies. From the methodological point of view, a mixed method of analysis has been adopted.

From the analysis of the three different points of view, IR can be considered as a “contested concept” because of the heterogeneous and sometimes conflicting interpretations and implementation that are done on this type of report. This leads to relevant theoretical and practical implications.

Details

Non-Financial Disclosure and Integrated Reporting: Practices and Critical Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-964-4

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2014

Angelo Ditillo and Irene Eleonora Lisi

Although companies are increasingly embracing the sustainability discourse in their external reporting and disclosures, little is known about how management control…

Abstract

Although companies are increasingly embracing the sustainability discourse in their external reporting and disclosures, little is known about how management control systems support sustainability within organizations. This is unfortunate, given the important role that properly designed Sustainability Control Systems (SCS) may play in helping firms to better face their social and environmental responsibilities. Starting from these premises, the aim of this essay is twofold. On the one hand, we present a review of the emerging stream of research on sustainability and management control mechanisms, in order to identify and discuss the link between the two. On the other hand, we try to illustrate the main unaddressed issues in this literature as a premise to exploring one possible way to advance research in this area. Specifically, we make a call for a more holistic approach to the study of SCS, which considers also their organizational and cultural dimensions in addition to their technical properties. A framework for informing future work on the topic is proposed, based on the concept of ‘control package’ (Malmi & Brown, 2008; Sandelin, 2008) complemented with notions from the complementarity-based approach developed in organizational economics (Grandori & Furnari, 2008; Milgrom & Roberts, 1995). By enhancing our understanding on how SCS operate as a package, the application of our framework should allow researchers to develop better theory of how to design a range of controls to support organizational sustainability objectives, control sustainability activities, and drive sustainability performance.

Details

Accounting for the Environment: More Talk and Little Progress
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-303-2

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2007

Carol A. Adams and Carlos Larrinaga‐González

The purpose of this paper is to present a case for research in ethical, social and environmental (or sustainability) accounting and accountability which engages with those…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a case for research in ethical, social and environmental (or sustainability) accounting and accountability which engages with those organisations claiming to manage and report their sustainability performance. In addition, the paper reviews the contributions in this special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an analysis and critique of the extent of engagement research in the field of sustainability accounting and accountability. It draws on the fields of management, management accounting and critical accounting to present a case for further research engagement with sustainability accounting and accountability practice.

Findings

The paper finds that the extant literature in the field of sustainability accounting and reporting, in contrast to the fields of management accounting and management, has largely ignored practice within organisations. The lack of “engaging research” is found to be due to concerns about increasing the breadth of participants in the social accounting agenda and “managerial capture”. The paper argues that further research engaging with organisations is needed in order to identify how accounting and management systems might reduce their negative sustainability impacts. The paper argues that such research can benefit from the methodological and theoretical insights of other disciplines.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests where further contributions might be made by future research endeavours engaging with organisations.

Practical implications

Engagement research in sustainability accounting and reporting has the potential to improve theorizing, practice and the sustainability performance of organisations.

Originality/value

Drawing on the methods and theories of other disciplines and the papers in the special issue, the paper presents a way forward for researchers engaging with organisations practicing sustainability accounting and reporting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2019

Carol A. Adams and Carlos Larrinaga

The purpose of this paper is to review the development of engagement research in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance and to identify issues in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the development of engagement research in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance and to identify issues in the further development of this field. In particular, the authors consider the implications of this research for practice, policy and theory following the publication of a special issue on the topic in 2007 in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors performed a systematic review of the relevant literature in selected accounting journals for the 11 year period 2007–2017 inclusive. The authors identified the methods, topics and theories addressed by researchers and the academic journals that are more likely to publish engagement research.

Findings

The authors found a significant increase in engagement work over the decade since publication of the special issue and a marked increase in the volume and complexity of data collected in studies. There is a marked difference in the openness of different journals to engagement research and the type of engagement research published across accounting journals. Contrary to the argument made by critics of engagement research the authors found that this field of research not only uses theory, but develops theory.

Research limitations/implications

Through the examination of methods and theories used and topics considered, the authors identify avenues for further research – and the journals likely to be receptive to it.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates that the collective body of engagement research aimed at improving sustainability accounting and performance has significant potential to inform practice and policy developments with the same aim.

Originality/value

The study examines an emerging approach in an emerging field of research with significant academic, practice and policy potential.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 17 April 2018

Delphine Gibassier

The research objectives of this chapter are threefold. First, we explore what is the current status of corporate water accounting tools and methodologies. Second, we…

Abstract

Purpose

The research objectives of this chapter are threefold. First, we explore what is the current status of corporate water accounting tools and methodologies. Second, we develop a framework for analyzing corporate water accounting and reporting. Third, we investigate what French CAC 40 companies account for and report in relations to the water challenge.

Methodology/approach

We collected annual and sustainability reports from all CAC 40 companies as well as their water Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) responses when available. We also collected all publically available corporate water accounting methodologies to assess the international water accounting field. We coded the data according to our designed framework via qualitative data analysis software.

Findings

Although water is seen as equally important to climate change (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), 2009), French multinationals have a very immature reporting on this topic. Most still do not report to the water disclosure questionnaire of CDP in 2014 and rely on basic figures such as global water consumption. We analyzed the multiple water accounting, reporting, and risk assessment frameworks that have mushroomed since 2000, and question the impact of this fragmented field on the maturity of the water performance reporting by French companies.

Practical implications

The developed framework for analysis of water reporting can be used for sustainability teaching at university level.

Originality/value

We developed the first comprehensive analytical framework for water corporate reporting assessment. Moreover, this research is the first comprehensive study of water reporting in Europe. We therefore contribute to extend our comprehension of corporate maturity in water stewardship and water performance reporting.

Details

Sustainability Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-889-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2020

Juliana Walkiewicz, Jenny Lay-Kumar and Christian Herzig

This paper aims to present a methodology to establish and integrate formal sustainability control systems (SCS) into management control systems (MCSs). The innovative…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a methodology to establish and integrate formal sustainability control systems (SCS) into management control systems (MCSs). The innovative approach aims at contributing to the need for SCS integration by permeating and transforming MCSs so that positive and negative externalities can be internalized into the financial performance measurement and reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

In an exploratory process, control systems were closely connected with financial accounting within four interrelated – ecologic, social, financial and knowledge-related – dimensions. Building on the action design research, multicriteria key performance indicators (KPI) for these dimensions were developed. Four value-based small and medium-sized enterprises of the food sector developed KPIs in interactive and participative workshops and interconnected their own business model with their sustainability principles. Constantly revising conformity, specific S.M.A.R.T. goals and related activities were defined, thereafter being used for KPI measures and for input in financial accounting.

Findings

The workshop series reveals the importance of including relevant stakeholders, multiple feedback loops and permanent dialogue to abolish cognitive barriers. The approach enables the development of multicriterial KPIs and identification of costs and benefits for an integrated financial accounting.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to practice and research in the field of SCS by providing insights into the process of an explorative workshop series developing multicriteria KPIs for controlling and financial accounting.

Details

Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2010

Roger L. Burritt and Stefan Schaltegger

The paper aims to discuss the current development of sustainability accounting research, the identification of critical and managerial paths, and to assess of the future…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to discuss the current development of sustainability accounting research, the identification of critical and managerial paths, and to assess of the future of sustainability accounting and reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a review of recent literature in sustainability accounting.

Findings

Assessment of recent literature leads to the conclusion that both management decision making, through problem solving and scorekeeping, and a critical approach, through awareness raising, contribute to the development of sustainability accounting and reporting; however, the development of sustainability accounting and reporting should be orientated more towards improving management decision making.

Originality/value

The paper is a systematic review of recent research developments in sustainability accounting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Mary-Anne McNally, Dannielle Cerbone and Warren Maroun

The purpose of this paper is to add to the limited body of interpretive research on integrated reporting by exploring challenges to preparing an integrated report. This is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to the limited body of interpretive research on integrated reporting by exploring challenges to preparing an integrated report. This is done using an integrated thinking framework which stresses the importance of an interconnection between sustainability performance, proactive sustainability management and integrated reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

Detailed interviews with 26 preparers at 9 South African-based organisations highlight practical issues encountered when producing an integrated report.

Findings

Integrated reporting is not consistently seen as a natural part of the business process, despite the relevance of multiple types of capital for organisations’ business models. The new report format is imposed on existing internal processes and reporting protocols which precludes a broad understanding of the purpose of integrated reporting and limits the development of management control systems and a supporting accounting infrastructure. In this constrained environment, reporting guidelines are used as disclosure checklists, stakeholder engagement is limited, systems are not always compatible and data analysis is difficult. Preparers are also unconvinced that integrated reports are taken seriously by investors, further limiting the interconnection between sustainability performance and integrated reporting.

Research limitations/implications

Those charged with governance need to ensure that their organisations are identifying so-called non-financial issues as strategically relevant. Sustainability performance targets need to be clearly defined and linked to specific performance indicators. The management control systems and accounting infrastructure must be planned and developed to assist with the monitoring of sustainability performance and, in turn, to inform what information is included in integrated reports.

Originality/value

This study answers the calls for primary evidence on how integrated reports are prepared and the associated challenges. The findings add to the limited body of interpretive research on the functioning of corporate governance and accounting systems and offers practical insights for preparers and academics.

Details

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

Keywords

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