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Sustainability, Popular and Integrated Reporting in the Public Sector: A Fad and Fashion Perspective

Author

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  • Lucia Biondi

    () (Dipartimento di Economia Aziendale, Università di Roma Tre, Via Silvio D’Amico, 77, 00145 Roma, Italy)

  • Enrico Bracci

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Università di Ferrara, Via Voltapaletto, 11, 44121 Ferrara, Italy)

Abstract

This paper provides a comparative analysis of different public accountability means used in the public sector - namely sustainability reporting, popular financial reporting and integrated reporting - in order to highlight their similarities and differences, and reflect on their development, with specific reference to the Italian context. In particular, we speculate about the practical and research implications of their emergence, through the lenses of accountability and managerial fad and fashion literature. The main novelty of the paper is that it is one of the first studies providing a comparative analysis of the three reporting tools debated both in practice and in research. We argue about their diffusion patterns, the commonalities and differences, which suggests different stages of evolution, different actors and forces at play. We provide some preliminary evidence on the risk that accountability innovations may end up just in a fad and fashion uptake, creating inefficiencies and not achieving the aims they are intended for. We also show how the available frameworks and standards have more in common than not, and that there is a risk of creating only new labels, without real innovation or improvement of public accountability.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucia Biondi & Enrico Bracci, 2018. "Sustainability, Popular and Integrated Reporting in the Public Sector: A Fad and Fashion Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-16, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:9:p:3112-:d:166878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aurelio Tommasetti & Riccardo Mussari & Gennaro Maione & Daniela Sorrentino, 2020. "Sustainability Accounting and Reporting in the Public Sector: Towards Public Value Co-Creation?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-19, March.
    2. Sara Giovanna Mauro & Lino Cinquini & Elena Simonini & Andrea Tenucci, 2020. "Moving from Social and Sustainability Reporting to Integrated Reporting: Exploring the Potential of Italian Public-Funded Universities’ Reports," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(8), pages 1-19, April.
    3. Laura Saraite-Sariene & Juana Alonso-Cañadas & Federico Galán-Valdivieso & Carmen Caba-Pérez, 2019. "Non-Financial Information versus Financial as a Key to the Stakeholder Engagement: A Higher Education Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, December.
    4. Paolo Biancone & Silvana Secinaro & Valerio Brescia & Daniel Iannaci, 2019. "The Popular Financial Reporting between Theory and Evidence," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(7), pages 45-56, July.
    5. Giuseppe Nicolò & Gianluca Zanellato & Adriana Tiron-Tudor, 2020. "Integrated Reporting and European State-Owned Enterprises: A Disclosure Analysis Pre and Post 2014/95/EU," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-17, March.
    6. Estibaliz Goicoechea & Fernando Gómez-Bezares & José Vicente Ugarte, 2019. "Integrated Reporting Assurance: Perceptions of Auditors and Users in Spain," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-19, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public accountability; sustainability accounting; managerial fashion; citizens; public sector;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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