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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to survey the research methods employed in the extant environmental accounting literature, finding few experimental studies. The need for more experimentation in the literature is discussed, as well as how experiments' unique methodological advantages can help address important environmental accounting issues. These issues culminate in a proposed model for conducting experimental environmental accounting research. Design/methodology/approach – A synthesis of the environmental accounting literature emphasizes the research methods, and, advantages and disadvantages of each method, as well as why and how experimental designs can contribute to the environmental accounting literature. Finally, the paper proposes and analyzes a framework for conducting environmental accounting experiments. Findings – Experiments can provide unique contributions to the environmental accounting literature. Relative to traditional accounting information, environmental accounting information comprises lower levels of user familiarity which may hinder effective processing of these non‐traditional data. These characteristics make the organizational display of these data, and their combination with non‐environmental metrics, a particular and unique concern. The proposed model considers the impact of environmental strategy on the implementation of environmental information systems, which in turn influences evaluation effectiveness of decisions based on environmental accounting information. Stakeholder influences, management communication of environmental issues, and evaluation scales also influence these relationships. Research limitations/implications – The model assumes environmental information generates from within the entity (i.e. private firms, public agencies, etc.). Future research can enhance and/or modify the framework to include information design and capture from non‐entity end‐users (e.g. stakeholders), as well as empirically test the model's relationships. Practical implications – The framework provides factors to consider to design more effective environmental accounting information systems. Also, the model's factors should aid researchers in developing robust experimental designs for environmental accounting studies. Originality/value – This is the first paper to propose a framework for conducting experimental environmental accounting research.
Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 28, 2010
Keywords: Accounting information; Decision making; Accounting research; Social accounting
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