The emergence of sustainability reporting in a Chinese state-owned enterprise.
The aim of the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) research seminar series is to support our world-class research activities in five key areas: accounting and global development; capital markets, audit, regulation and reporting; publicness and resilience, precarity, exclusion and social justice; and environment, climate change and vulnerability. The seminar series is also expected to promote interdisciplinary research that links the work of members of the centre with others both within the university and with external institutions.
Nowadays organizations operate in pluralistic and increasingly more complex institutional environments that are characterized by the presence of multiple and often competing institutional logics (ILs, hereafter) at society- and field- levels. Prior studies have substantially increased our understanding of the (field, organizational and individual) factors/determinants, the strategies (e.g., defiance, combination and blending) and the effects on organizations (e.g. structures, practices, identity) that are related to the mechanisms of response to institutional complexity. Nevertheless, there is still a need to further investigate how these response mechanisms occur and are managed over time in- and by- organizations. In particular, there is a need to understand how these multiple/competing ILs work on the ground and to examine how these response-related mechanisms emerge by considering in particular the interplay between fields’ conditions, organizational factors and individuals’ strategic actions.
In this presentation we draw on the work of Thornton et al., (2012) and Pache and Santos (2013, a,b) to propose an enriched theoretical framework of the micro-foundations of ILs.
The empirical evidence was collected through:
Our empirical analysis provides insights to better understand not only how organizations, especially those that are under permanent competing ILs (e.g., hybrid organizations), function but also are able to survive in pluralistic and complex institutional environments. In addition, our analysis provides further insights to enhance the understanding of the transformative capacities of (sustainability) accounting to help organizations to cope with, and potentially “compartmentalize”, conflicts between the demands/prescriptions of competing ILs and, in doing so, to prevent organizational tensions and ruptures. Our analysis, in particular, shows that the response mechanisms, the organizational (meso) factors and the interpretive acts of these conditions/factors, were mediated and enabled by the emergence of sustainability reporting practices.
Our paper provides three main contributions. First, our analysis provides an in-depth and contextualised empirical evidence to flesh out our theoretical understanding of the micro foundations of how organizations manage complexity and how they respond to competing ILs, by detailing not only the factors but also the processual dynamics of these responses. Second, our analysis extends the understanding of the role that specific organizational practices, and in particular (sustainability) accounting, may play as a medium for navigating organizations through complex and changing institutional environments. Finally, our work proposes a revised and richer theoretical model for understanding ‘how’ and ‘to what extent’ competing ILs affect organizational/individual practices and how in turn these practices, once enacted, affect existing ILs and the related strategies of response.
This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.
Please join this seminar online on Wednesday 3 November at 2pm
We welcome you to join with your friends, colleagues and classmates.
Massimo Contrafatto is Associate Professor of Accounting and Accountability in the Department of Management at the University of Bergamo (Italy) where he teaches social accounting and management accounting.
He is also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Dundee.
His research interests are primarily in;
Massimo has carried out research on these topics, including fieldwork with diverse organizations - multinationals, social enterprises, co-operatives and foundations.
He is also;
He is currently carrying out research projects with international colleagues of prestigious institutions: for example, University of St. Andrews (Scotland), London Royal Holloway University, University of Sheffield (UK), University of Newcastle (UK) and Birmingham University (UK).