Monday, 13 October 2014

Integrated Reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research

By Charl de Villiers (Universities of Waikato and Pretoria), Leonardo Rinaldi and Jeffrey Unerman 

Integrated reporting has rapidly gained considerable prominence since the formation in 2010 of the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC – subsequently renamed the International Integrated Reporting Council). Although the IIRC has become the dominant body globally in developing policy and practice around integrated reporting, it was not the first mover in this area. Some innovative reporting organisations had individually pioneered such practices. In South Africa, where integrated reporting is a listing requirement, guidelines for integrated reporting were being developed before the formation of the IIRC. Although integrated reporting is a relatively new area, both public policy and organisational practices in this area have developed rapidly. The aim of this paper is to trace the early development and current state-of-play of integrated reporting, and to set out a comprehensive agenda for future research. In addressing this aim the paper draws upon academic analysis and insights provided in the embryonic integrated reporting literature. 

De Villiers, C., Rinaldi, L. and Unerman, J. (2014). Integrated Reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7): 1042-1067.

Links: Open access version; published article.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Bringing Secrecy into the Open

By Jana Costas (Europa-Universit├Ąt Viadrina) and Christopher Grey 

Every day in organizations people keep secrets, ranging from product and strategy plans to data protection to confidential gossip in corridors. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine an organization which has no secrets at all. And keeping secrets can have many effects, for example creating in-groups and out-groups in the workplace. Yet few people have tried to research this fascinating phenomenon. In this paper, we explain why secrecy is important and offer a framework for how to study it, distinguishing between formal and informal secrecy and showing how these affect identity and power relationships in organizations.

Costas, J. and Grey, C. (2014). Bringing Secrecy into the Open: Towards a Theorization of the Social Processes of Organizational Secrecy. Organization Studies 35(10): 1423-1447.
Links: Open access version; published article.

Supermarket supply chain sustainability: what are you buying into?

By Laura Spence and Leonardo Rinaldi

When did you last buy something from a supermarket? Chances are it wasn’t long ago: most retail spending goes through a supermarket checkout. In a recent article, we present a detailed case study of one UK supermarket’s long reach down its supply chain, examining its work on embedding sustainability in the (nine-step) supply chain for lamb. We use the concept of governmentality to examine systematic ways of exercising power and authority, paying attention to the way sustainability is promoted within the company. We explore how senior decision-makers frame and use sustainability accounting to embed sustainability in the supply chain, but find that they reformulate their arguments primarily in economic (rather than social or environmental) terms. Whilst this is unsurprising, the inability of a supermarket publicly committed to sustainability to change the conversation suggests that using ‘sustainability’ to reconfigure business priorities could turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Spence, L. and Rinaldi, L. (2014) Governmentality in Accounting and Accountability: A case study of embedding sustainability in a supply chain, Accounting, Organizations and Society. 39(6): 433-452.   

Click to read more about this paper below the cut