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Walking the talk(s): Organisational narratives of integrated reporting

Higgins, C., Stubbs, W. and Love, T. (2014) Walking the talk(s): Organisational narratives of integrated reporting. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27 (7). pp. 1090-1119.

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– The purpose of this paper is to explore how the managers of early adopting Australian firms contribute to the institutionalisation of integrated reporting (IR).

– This study is situated within institutional theory. The authors undertook semi-structured interviews with 23 Australian managers. The authors drew on Gabriel's (2000) poetic analytics to show how the sensemaking activities of the early adopters contribute to the institutionalisation process.

– Two main narratives dominate our managers’ experience: IR as story-telling and IR as meeting expectations. These two narratives are constructed simultaneously and theyset up contrasting plots regarding salient events, responsibilities and characters that are resolved through one or more of three “inter-narratives” that background these tensions. The inter-narratives suggest time, the company's strategy, and talking and engagement can solve problems.

Research limitations/implications
– The authors argue that the managers of early adopting firms are important in the institutionalisation process. Even though they may not necessarily be institutional entrepreneurs they do engage in important “institutional work”. The study is limited by its predominant focus on only one participant to the institutionalisation process, and it is may be the case that the institutionalisation of IR is not ultimately successful.

– Provides in-depth insights into an under-researched participant in an institutional field contributes to institutionalisation. Additionally, it sheds light on the conditions under which firms will engage with IR.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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