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Employees, Non-financial Reports and Institutional Arrangements: A Study of Accounts in the Workplace


  • Thomas Riise Johansen


Non-financial reports, such as sustainability, social responsibility and ethical reports, claim to make organizations accountable to a range of stakeholders. Yet, it has been argued that such reports are of limited value in the absence of structures that enable stakeholder response to the information provided and accordingly influence decision-making. The aim of this paper is to assess the materiality of non-financial reports to employees in the light of enterprise-level arrangements where employees potentially impact decision-making. The paper draws on interviews with Danish employee representatives and archival material in organizations that claim to be accountable to a range of stakeholders, including employees, through the preparation of non-financial reports. Denmark is an interesting empirical setting for this study as arrangements such as European works councils, employee board representatives, works councils and shop stewards are widespread and regulated. This paper suggests that, from the perspective of employees, formal reports represent a limited contribution to accountability and that institutional arrangements in the workplace appear more important for this stakeholder group. The paper illustrates that these arrangements are significant vehicles for employees to demand, receive and develop accounts of organizational affairs and that non-financial reports seem insignificant as a basis for pursuing impact on management decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Riise Johansen, 2010. "Employees, Non-financial Reports and Institutional Arrangements: A Study of Accounts in the Workplace," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 97-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:97-130
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180902989392

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    Cited by:

    1. Rüdiger Hahn & Regina Lülfs, 2014. "Legitimizing Negative Aspects in GRI-Oriented Sustainability Reporting: A Qualitative Analysis of Corporate Disclosure Strategies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 401-420, September.
    2. repec:eee:crpeac:v:22:y:2011:i:8:p:781-789 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ronald K. Mitchell & Harry J. Van Buren III & Michelle Greenwood & R. Edward Freeman, 2015. "Stakeholder Inclusion and Accounting for Stakeholders," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(7), pages 851-877, November.

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