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  • 1
    ISSN: 0951-3574
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: This paper serves as an introduction to this special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; an issue which embraces themes associated with social and environmental reporting (SAR) and its role in maintaining or creating organisational legitimacy. In an effort to place this research in context the paper begins by making reference to contemporary trends occurring in social and environmental accounting research generally, and this is then followed by an overview of some of the many research questions which are currently being addressed in the area. Understanding motivations for disclosure is shown to be one of the issues attracting considerable research attention, and the desire to legitimise an organisation's operations is in turn shown to be one of the many possible motivations. The role of legitimacy theory in explaining managers' decisions is then discussed and it is emphasised that legitimacy theory, as it is currently used, must still be considered to be a relatively under-developed theory of managerial behaviour. Nevertheless, it is argued that the theory provides useful insights. Finally, the paper indicates how the other papers in this issue of AAAJ contribute to the ongoing development of legitimacy theory in SAR research.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 0951-3574
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Reports on the results of a survey of various groups of annual report users as to the importance, or "materiality", of environmental information to decisions they may wish to make. Also investigates how environmental information is ranked in importance relative to various other items of social and financial information. The user groups surveyed comprise shareholders, accounting academics, stockbrokers and financial analysts, financial institutions, environmental lobby groups, industry associations and other groups performing a review or oversight function. Reports the results which indicate that the majority of the annual report users surveyed believe environmental information to be material to their decisions, and that they seek the disclosure of this information in corporate annual reports. Although the results show that the users typically believe that environmental information is material, they further indicate that the majority of the user groups rank environmental information behind traditional financial information such as profits, net assets, cash flows, and dividend payments.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 3
    ISSN: 0951-3574
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: This study examines the social and environmental disclosures of BHP Ltd (one of the largest Australian companies) from 1983 to 1997 to ascertain the extent and type of annual report social and environmental disclosures over the period, and whether such disclosures can be explained by the concepts of a social contract and legitimacy theory. This research is also motivated by the opportunity to compare and contrast results with those of Guthrie and Parker, in whose study the social and environmental disclosures made by BHP Ltd were also the focus of analysis. In testing the relationship between community concern for particular social and environmental issues (as measured by the extent of media attention), and BHP's annual report disclosures on the same issues, significant positive correlations were obtained for the general themes of environment and human resources as well as for various sub-issues within these, and other, themes. Additional testing also supported the view that management release positive social and environmental information in response to unfavourable media attention. Such results lend support to legitimation motives for a company's social and environmental disclosures. A trend in providing greater social and environmental information in the annual report of BHP in recent years, and its variable pattern, was also evidenced.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 4
    ISSN: 0951-3574
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Within Australia there is ageneral absence of professional or legislative rules requiring companies to provide information relating to their environmental performance or any environmental initiatives undertaken. Previous research studies have shown that many firms present environmental information, but only tend to present information which is favourable to their corporate image. Investigates the environmental reporting practices of a sample of 20 Australian companies which were subject to successful prosecution by the New South Wales, and Victorian Environmental Protection Authorities, during the period 1990-1993. Indicates a significant increase in the reporting of favourable environmental information surrounding environmental prosecution. Further, the amount of positive environmental information significantly outweighed the negative environmental information presented, which was interesting given that it is clear that the firms studied did have bad news to report. The existence of a proven environmental offence was reported by only two of the companies within the sample. Raises issues as to whether information about a proven environmental offence is "material" to account users and, if so, whether financial statements could be construed as being misleading in the absence of such information.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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