IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The sustainable development reporting: a new organizational practice in higher education institutions ?

Listed author(s):
  • Stéphanie Chatelain-Ponroy


    (LIRSA-CRC - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - Centre de recherche en comptabilité - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM])

  • Sophie Morin-Delerm

    (LIRSA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM])

Registered author(s):

    Purpose : The main aim of the present article is to study the adoption and diffusion of a recent practice : sustainable development reporting by (and within) French universities. Theoretical background, approach taken and methods of analysis : To better understand and analyse this organisational practice, we draw on contributions from three complementary theoretical frameworks: (1) stakeholder theory, (2) new institutionalism (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983) and legitimacy theory (Suchman, 1995), and (3) innovation diffusion theory (Rogers, 1962, 1995; Zaltman, Duncan, & Holbeck, 1973). Backed by these three frameworks, two common themes (adaptability and recursivity, Jarzabkowski, 2004) and two dimensions (fidelity and extensiveness (Ansari et al, 2010) allow us to analyze the adoption and diffusion of sustainable development reporting. We have conducted archival search both in the establishments concerned and within their institutional field. Our empirical study is based on a comparative analysis (intergroup, intragroup and longitudinal) of the contents of the sustainable development reporting of pioneer universities. Findings : The "pioneer" universities in terms of sustainable development reporting - consisting of the innovators and early adopters - appear to adopt and diffuse the practice faithfully but on a limited scale. Specifically, we observe that the "innovators" perform better in terms of fidelity than they do in terms of extensiveness. In the same time, the "early adopters" also perform well in fidelity but make less effort in extensiveness. This can probably be explained by the weak political congruence combined with an equally weak cultural congruence between the practice of sustainable development reporting and the universities. Implications : Future research incorporating the study of sustainable development reporting among the "majority" and the "late adopters" should show how these "follower" universities implement this recent organisational practice. Originality/value : To our knowledge, there is very little research that examines the adoption and diffusion of sustainable development reporting by (and within) French universities. Moreover, we have synthesised, for each institution and each period, the data that sum up the practice of sustainable development (extensiveness as well as fidelity) into grids of analysis. These grids, backed on the works of Ansari & al. (2010) and on those of Jarzabkowski (2004), allow comparison but also constitute a tool for analyzing the practice of sustainable development of the next studied institutions.

    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.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00712598.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 05 Jul 2012
    Publication status: Published in 28th EGOS Colloquium Design !?, Jul 2012, Helsinki, Finland. pp.274, 2012
    Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00712598
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    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.:

    in new window

    1. Richardson, Alan J., 1987. "Accounting as a legitimating institution," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 341-355, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00712598. 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: (CCSD)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.