تأثیر متقابل میان گزارش های زیست محیطی و تغییر حسابداری مدیریت
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10321||2013||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 24, Issue 4, December 2013, Pages 333–348
This paper investigates how environmental reporting (ER) and environment-related management accounting (EMA) practices may interact in the process of responding to disturbances of the natural environment (e.g., changes in environmental regulation, green consumerism, societal pressures for environmentally-responsible conduct). Based on data gathered in four Belgian case companies, we find that the emergence of an interplay between ER and EMA practices is related to the change pathways followed by these disturbances. Moreover, the strength of the environmental disturbances, top management commitment and the presence of an environmental champion are important contingent factors in understanding the development of a recursive relationship. Finally, the findings illustrate that an interplay between ER and EMA practices has the potential to foster or stifle organizational greening.
In a world conscious of sustainability issues and constraints, the demands for different flows of information are likely to grow (Hopwood, 2009). In particular, in response to disturbances of the natural environment (e.g., changes in environmental regulation, green consumerism, societal pressures for environmentally-responsible conduct), organizations may change their reporting (e.g., Bebbington et al., 2009, Cho and Patten, 2007 and Spence and Gray, 2007) and management accounting practices (e.g., Albelda-Pérez et al., 2007, Fraser, 2012 and Larrinaga-González and Bebbington, 2001). Moreover, Frost and Seamer (2002) and Tilt (2006) have proposed that there may also be an interaction between environmental reporting (ER) and environment-related management accounting (EMA); that is, procedural changes in one may elicit procedural changes in the other. The question then arises how this interplay is bound up with the change process towards organizational greening. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how ER and EMA practices may interact in the process of responding to disturbances of the natural environment. This research question is mainly addressed through 15 semi-structured interviews with general, finance and environmental managers of four Belgian companies. The data were collected over a two-year period. To fathom the various facets in the change process towards organizational greening, we use Laughlin's (1991) organizational change framework. As a middle range theory, the framework merely provides a language to explore change processes, in that empirical flesh is needed to make it meaningful (Laughlin, 1995). Several authors in the social and environmental accounting area (Gray et al., 1995, Larrinaga-González and Bebbington, 2001 and Larrinaga-González et al., 2001) have already acknowledged the framework's capacity to sensitize the researcher to observe change that is not readily observable (Fraser, 2012). The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, because the process of constructing environmental reports can be of greater value than the actual reports themselves (Adams and McNicholas, 2007), we enrich studies that mainly considered ER as an outcome (e.g., Gray et al., 1995 and Larrinaga-González et al., 2001) by considering reporting as a process. In particular, we complement studies that investigated change pathways in response to disturbances of the natural environment (Fraser, 2012, Gray et al., 1995, Larrinaga-González and Bebbington, 2001 and Larrinaga-González et al., 2001) by providing a detailed analysis of the emergence of an interplay between ER and EMA practices during this change process. At the same time, we empirically test Tilt's (2006) assumption that ER can be considered as a response that may result from undergoing some form of organizational change or as one of the drivers of it. Second, given that academic evidence on EMA is still sparse, we also respond to calls for more research in this area (Burnett and Hansen, 2008, Ferreira et al., 2010, Henri and Journeault, 2010, Parker, 2005 and Perego and Hartmann, 2009). Furthermore, we complement research on the interface between managerial and financial reporting (Hemmer and Labro, 2008). Finally, by uncovering the mechanisms through which accounting develops in a specific setting, we contribute to the broader accounting change literature (e.g., Burns and Scapens, 2000, Hopwood, 1987, Innes and Mitchell, 1990 and Vaivio, 1999). The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 reviews the relevant literature. Section 3 elaborates on the employed research method, while Section 4 analyzes and discusses the findings. The final section offers some concluding remarks.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of the paper was to investigate how ER and EMA practices may interact in the process of responding to disturbances of the natural environment. Utilizing a middle-range thinking approach, we used Laughlin's (1991) skeletal organizational change framework to describe the pathways that environmental disturbances have taken in four particular organizations and to articulate the roles of ER and EMA practices in the changing context. Over a two-year period, 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with general, finance and environmental managers of four Belgian companies and internal documents were analyzed in detail. We found that in response to disturbances of the natural environment, organizations responded in a visible way, either by initiating ER or by subscribing to an EMS (that entailed a reporting and communication requirement). In the first case (Companies A and D), ER drives EMA practices because disclosing information brings about the realization that supporting data are required (albeit perhaps not immediately). In the second case (Companies B and C), the binding commitment of an EMS triggers a need for data, which may or may not be used for decision making. In either of the two cases, an interplay might arise between ER and EMA (i.e. procedural changes in the first may evoke procedural changes in the second and vice versa) and this may influence the organizational change process. More specifically, EMA information may be used to inform ER, just like ER may trigger a need for the development of EMA practices (Frost and Seamer, 2002). This confirms that ER can be both a response to as well a driver of the organizational change process, as suggested by Tilt (2006). We found that, for an interplay to emerge, the presence of strong environmental jolts, an environmental champion and top management commitment are important contingent conditions. This ‘assemblage’ of factors (Duncan and Thomson, 1998) was not present in Companies A and B, which resided in Laughlin's (1991) reorientation change pathway. According to Gray et al. (1995), companies, like Company C, that experience environmental kicks that engender fear but leave the interpretative schemes unaffected can be located in Laughlin's (1991) colonization change pathway. In a similar vein, evolution change occurs when top managers voluntarily absorb environmental disturbances in their systems and structures (Gray et al., 1995), as in Company D. Consequently, an interplay is more likely to emerge in companies that reside in one of these change pathways. Importantly, however, this interplay may be tailored in order to fit in with or even to strengthen the organization's conventional business discourse such that organizational change is stifled, as in Company C. Hence, our case findings empirically support the conjecture of Gond et al. (2012) that an integrated sustainability strategy may not be ideal from a sustainability viewpoint. In fact, given that we found no evidence for second-order change, there might be some synergy between a legitimacy explanation of firm behaviour and first-order organizational change, as suggested by Tilt (2006). However, an important nuance may be added in that companies seem to realize that, ultimately, the ‘greenwashing’ rhetoric should be supported by some evidence in order to maintain legitimacy. We acknowledge that the organizational change processes at our case companies may not have reached their endpoints (Larrinaga-González and Bebbington, 2001). In particular, we have noticed that the parallel existence of a sustainability discourse at Company D may not be stable and, furthermore, the outcome of any potential evolution is unclear. Therefore, we encourage future studies to follow similar ‘schizoid’ (Greenwood and Hinings, 1988 and Hinings and Greenwood, 1988) companies over an extended timeframe in order to complement our insights by revealing the factors that determine organizational change processes in the long run. Furthermore, given the importance of champions in change processes, it would also be worthwhile to disentangle how individuals can embed sustainability thinking at all hierarchical levels (see also Fraser, 2012).