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Engaging with organisations in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance

Contents:

Author Info

  • Carol A. Adams
  • Carlos Larrinaga-González

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.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

Volume (Year): 20 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 333-355

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Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:20:y:2007:i:3:p:333-355

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Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

Order Information:
Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
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Web: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/aaaj.htm

Related research

Keywords: Accounting standards; Business ethics; Economic sustainability; Financial reporting; Organizational analysis; Research methods;

References

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Carlos Larrinaga-González & Vicente Pérez-Chamorro, 2008. "Sustainability Accounting And Accountability In Public Water Companies," Working Papers 08.05, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Business Administration.
  2. Brendan O'Dwyer & Jeffrey Unerman, 2007. "From functional to social accountability: Transforming the accountability relationship between funders and non-governmental development organisations," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 446-471, April.
  3. Meyer, John W., 1983. "On the celebration of rationality: Some comments on Boland and Pondy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 235-240, May.
  4. Medawar, Charles, 1976. "The social audit: A political view," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 389-394, October.
  5. Gordon, Lawrence A. & Miller, Danny, 1976. "A contingency framework for the design of accounting information systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-69, January.
  6. Neu, D. & Warsame, H. & Pedwell, K., 1998. "Managing public impressions: environmental disclosures in annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 265-282, April.
  7. Laughlin, Richard C., 1987. "Accounting systems in organisational contexts: A case for critical theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 479-502, August.
  8. Burchell, Stuart & Clubb, Colin & Hopwood, Anthony & Hughes, John & Nahapiet, Janine, 1980. "The roles of accounting in organizations and society," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, January.
  9. Otley, David T., 1980. "The contingency theory of management accounting: Achievement and prognosis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 413-428, October.
  10. Meyer, John W., 1990. "Sources and effects of decisions: A comment on Brunsson," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 61-65.
  11. Ahrens, Thomas & Chapman, Christopher S., 2006. "Doing qualitative field research in management accounting: Positioning data to contribute to theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 819-841, November.
  12. Jan Bebbington & Judy Brown & Bob Frame & Ian Thomson, 2007. "Theorizing engagement: the potential of a critical dialogic approach," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 356-381, April.
  13. Power, Michael K., 1991. "Educating accountants: Towards a critical ethnography," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 333-353.
  14. Waterhouse, J. H. & Tiessen, P., 1978. "A contingency framework for management accounting systems research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-76, February.
  15. Hopwood, Anthony G., 1978. "Towards an organizational perspective for the study of accounting and information systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 3-13, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Roger L. Burritt & Stefan Schaltegger, 2010. "Sustainability accounting and reporting: fad or trend?," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(7), pages 829-846, September.
  2. Carlos Larrinaga-Gonzélez & Vincente Pérez-Chamorro, 2008. "Sustainability Accounting and Accountability in Public Water Companies," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 28(6), pages 337-343, December.
  3. Jan Bebbington & Carlos Larrinaga-González & Jose M. Moneva-Abadía, 2008. "Legitimating reputation/the reputation of legitimacy theory," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 371-374, April.
  4. Giovanna Michelon, 2007. "Sustainability disclosure and reputation: a comparative study," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0044, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  5. Max Baker, 2010. "Re-conceiving managerial capture," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(7), pages 847-867, September.
  6. John Smith & Ros Haniffa & Jenny Fairbrass, 2011. "A Conceptual Framework for Investigating ‘Capture’ in Corporate Sustainability Reporting Assurance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 425-439, March.
  7. Janine Hogan & Sumit Lodhia, 2011. "Sustainability reporting and reputation risk management: an Australian case study," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(3), pages 267-287, September.
  8. Carol A. Adams & Glen Whelan, 2009. "Conceptualising future change in corporate sustainability reporting," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 118-143, January.
  9. Carol A. Adams, 2008. "A commentary on: corporate social responsibility reporting and reputation risk management," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 365-370, April.
  10. Nick Sciulli, 2011. "The views of managers from a local coastal council on sustainability reporting issues: An Australian-based case study," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(2), pages 139-160, June.
  11. Christina Chiang, 2010. "Insights into current practices in auditing environmental matters," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(9), pages 912-933, November.

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