Multinationals’ Accountability on Sustainability: The Evolution of Third-party Assurance of Sustainability Reports
In this article we explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) adopt assurance practices to develop and sustain organizational accountability for sustainability. Using a panel of Fortune Global 250 firms over a period of 10 years, we document the diffusion patterns of third-party assurance of sustainability reports. We specifically investigate how evolving auditing practices, namely diversity of assurance standards and type of assurance providers, shape the quality of sustainability assurance statements. The results illustrate great variability in the adoption of assurance practices in the formative stages of this novel market. Our descriptive analysis indicates the relevance of external institutional pressures as well as internal resources and capabilities as underlying factors driving the adoption of assurance. Our evidence also suggests that several MNCs project a decoupled or symbolic image of accountability through assurance, thereby undermining the credibility of these verification practices. The paper contributes to the emerging literature on international accountability standards and emphasizes the need to enhance theory-based, cross-disciplinary knowledge related to auditing and accountability processes for sustainability. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springer.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/10551/PS2|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Gilbert, Dirk Ulrich & Rasche, Andreas & Waddock, Sandra, 2011. "Accountability in a Global Economy: The Emergence of International Accountability Standards," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 23-44, January.
- Dong, Minyue & Stettler, Alfred, 2011. "Estimating firm-level and country-level effects in cross-sectional analyses: An application of hierarchical modeling in corporate disclosure studies," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 271-303, September.
- Carla Rhianon Edgley & Michael John Jones & Jill Frances Solomon, 2010. "Stakeholder inclusivity in social and environmental report assurance," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(4), pages 532-557, May.
- Kolk, Ans, 2010. "Trajectories of sustainability reporting by MNCs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 367-374, October.
- Dima Jamali, 2010. "MNCs and International Accountability Standards Through an Institutional Lens: Evidence of Symbolic Conformity or Decoupling," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(4), pages 617-640, September.
- Beyer, Anne & Cohen, Daniel A. & Lys, Thomas Z. & Walther, Beverly R., 2010. "The financial reporting environment: Review of the recent literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 296-343, December.
- Javier Aguilera-Caracuel & Juan Aragón-Correa & Nuria Hurtado-Torres & Alan Rugman, 2012. "The Effects of Institutional Distance and Headquarters’ Financial Performance on the Generation of Environmental Standards in Multinational Companies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(4), pages 461-474, February.
- Pierre-Yves Néron, 2010. "Business and the Polis: What Does it Mean to See Corporations as Political Actors?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 333-352, July.
- Magali A. Delmas & Michael W. Toffel, 2010. "Institutional Pressures and Organizational Characteristics: Implications for Environmental Strategy," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-050, Harvard Business School.
- Giacomo Manetti & Lucia Becatti, 2009. "Assurance Services for Sustainability Reports: Standards and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 289-298, April.
- O'Dwyer, Brendan & Owen, David & Unerman, Jeffrey, 2011. "Seeking legitimacy for new assurance forms: The case of assurance on sustainability reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-52, January.
- Power, Michael, 1997. "Expertise and the construction of relevance: Accountants and environmental audit," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 123-146, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:2:p:173-190. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.