Integrated reporting and change? : The impacts after a decade of integrated reporting

Call for papers for: Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

Guest Editors:
Professor John Dumay, Macquarie University, Australia (Corresponding Guest Editor)
Email: [email protected]
Stefano Zambon, University of Ferrara, Italy
Elisabetta Magnaghi, Catholic University of Lille, France

About the Special Issue
The emergence of integrated reporting is a result of the continuous change in the reporting environment to fulfil different stakeholder needs (Tlili, Ben Othman, & Hussainey, 2019). Although stakeholder pressure influences social orientation actions, including high-quality integrated reporting, it does not necessarily lead to substantial change in business model and corporate culture (Vitolla, Raimo, & Rubino, 2019).
Integrated reporting intends to change, at a minimum, the way that a company communicates its value creation over the short-medium-long term, with the primary audience being the “providers of financial capital” (International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), 2013, p. 4). However, if the IIRC is correct, not only will reporting change, but so will the way a company thinks – because integrated thinking is integral along with recognition of the six capitals – financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relationship, and natural – which means that organisations must change internally. The internal changes reflect change in employee behaviour through management control systems, and specifically cultural controls (Merchant & Van der Stede, 2007) which either complement or clash with existing organisational culture, alongside also changes in information systems reporting practices (Dumay et al., 2017).

How organisations change is also reflected in how organisations adopt the integrated reporting because not all organisations adopt all elements of the framework. For example, some organisations rely only on integrated reporting’s principles, while others analyse and measure all six capitals and their transformation through their business model. Some organisations also explain their governance and strategy, and their business model, and identify their tangible and intangible assets and present the key risks they face and how they plan to avoid or mitigate them. To other organisations, integrated reporting can appear “complex and time-consuming” because the structuring of non-financial information is not as advanced as that of financial information, or is “costly” to produce. Thus, different organisations implement integrated reporting differently, making it hard de facto to compare one integrated report to another.

Furthermore, since the IIRC was established more than a decade ago, integrated reporting has received some criticism (Flower, 2015) alongside support in the academic community (Adams, 2015; Girella, Rossi & Zambon, 2019). With the  integrated reporting framework is now in its eighth year it has already been the subject of one substantial feedback review (IIRC, 2017). The review did not result in any changes to the framework as yet, despite the identification of several barriers towards implementation (Dumay, Bernardi, Guthrie, & La Torre, 2017). Additionally, the integrated reporting framework is arguably providing a resurgence of interest in research based on measuring, managing and reporting intellectual capital and intangibles in practice (Dumay, 2016). However, continuing critique and a changing reporting landscape, most notably the introduction of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2015) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) (2016), have caused the IIRC to reflect upon integrated reporting’s connectivity to these changes (International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), 2019). 
The integrated reporting framework is now undergoing another round of market feedback with the final goal to have a revised version to release in December 2020 (IIRC, 2020a). More importantly, what constitutes integrated thinking is also undergoing a radical reconsideration as the IIRC is now “developing a model for integrated thinking” (IIRC, 2020b, p. 23). Therefore, with the framework and integrated thinking under review, there will be further reasons to explore how organisations will change in response.

The main aim of the special issue is to explore all manners of change associated with integrated reporting and how this accountancy tool infuses and is affected by change in and around organisations, their internal and external perceptions and their narrations. As the title of the special issue indicates, we question the change and we will specifically be looking for papers that outline change and a critique of change, with outlooks towards the future. The latter point will be of particular importance when accepting papers. 
We encourage submissions from different institutional contexts and disciplines, and are welcoming of various theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches. 

Possible topics for contributions include, but are not limited to, change associated with:

  • The implementation of the integrated reporting framework;
  • Management controls systems;
  • Organisational culture;
  • Adapting integrated reporting to serve other organisational needs;
  • Integrated reporting as complement to other reporting frameworks;
  • Impact on the business model;
  • Integrated thinking;
  • The relationship to intellectual capital and intangibles;Accounting practices in a multi-capitals economy;
  • Instrumental uses of integrated reporting in organisational settings.

The papers on the above issues which were intended to be presented at the XVI EIASM Conference on “Intangibles and Intellectual Capital – Non-Financial and Integrated Reporting, Governance and Value Creation” – that was supposed to be held at the Catholic University of Lille on 14-15 September 2020 and now rescheduled to 23-24 September 2021 (www.eiasm.org/frontoffice/event_announcement.asp?event_id=1456) – will be provided a fast track review for this Special Issue.

Submission instructions:

  • Authors should adhere to the journal’s author guidelines and submit their papers online to the special issue Integrated reporting and change? at: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jaoc.
  • Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All papers will be refereed through the journal’s standard peer review process.

Key dates:
Paper submission: 28 February 2021
Acceptances by: 8 August 2021
Publication: Early 2022

References
Adams, C. A. (2015). The International Integrated Reporting Council: A call to action. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27(1), 23-28. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2014.07.001
Dumay, J. (2016). A critical reflection on the future of intellectual capital: from reporting to disclosure. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 17(1), 168-184. doi:doi:10.1108/JIC-08-2015-0072
Dumay, J., Bernardi, C., Guthrie, J., & La Torre, M. (2017). Barriers to implementing the International Integrated Reporting Framework: A contemporary academic perspective. Meditari Accountancy Research, 25(4), 461-480. doi:doi:10.1108/MEDAR-05-2017-0150
Flower, J. (2015). The International Integrated Reporting Council: A story of failure. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27(1), 1-17. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2014.07.002
Girella, L., Rossi, P., & Zambon, S. (2019). Exploring the firm and country determinants of the voluntary adoption of integrated reporting. Business Strategy and the Environment, 28(7), November, 1323-1340. doi: 10.1002/bse.2318
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). (2013). The International <IR> Framework. Retrieved from London: http://www.discussionpaper2011.theiirc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/DP/discussionpaper2011_print_version.pdf
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). (2017). International <IR> Framework Implementation Feedback: Summary report. Retrieved from London: http://integratedreporting.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Framework_feedback_Sum2017.pdf
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). (2019). Building Momentum: IIRC Intergrated Report 2018. Retrieved from London: https://integratedreporting.org/integratedreport2018/download/pdf/IIRC_INTEGRATED_REPORT_2018.pdf
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). (2020a). IIRC opens call for feedback as it revises the International Framework. Retrieved from https://integratedreporting.org/news/iirc-opens-call-for-feedback-as-it-revises-the-international-framework/
International integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). (2020b). Integrated Thinking & Strategy: State of play report. Retrieved from London: 
Merchant, K. A., & Van der Stede, W. (2007). Management Control Systems. London.
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). (2016). Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Retrieved from Basel, Switzerland: 
Tlili, M., Ben Othman, H., & Hussainey, K. (2019). Does integrated reporting enhance the value relevance of organizational capital? Evidence from the South African context. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 20(5), 642-661. doi:10.1108/jic-02-2019-0034
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2015). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from New York: 
Vitolla, F., Raimo, N., & Rubino, M. (2019). Appreciations, criticisms, determinants, and effects of integrated reporting: A systematic literature review. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(2), 518-528. doi:10.1002/csr.1734