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Mandatory vs voluntary exercise on non-financial reporting: does a normative/coercive isomorphism facilitate an increase in quality?

Mandatory vs voluntary exercise on non-financial reporting: does a normative/coercive isomorphism... This paper aims at investigating the quality of non-financial reporting (NFR) in light of Directive no. 2014/95/EU. Specifically, it focuses on the quality of NFR in Italian companies, as required by Legislative Decree no. 254/2016.Design/methodology/approachThe method used to develop the analysis is mainly qualitative. A content analysis of 184 non-financial reports (NFRs) was conducted on a sample of 92 companies that have been previously involved in the process of NFR on a voluntary basis. Then, a longitudinal analysis was carried out to assess the quality of the NFR conducted from a voluntary to a mandatory basis.FindingsThis study shows that the quality of NFR does not increase when moving from a voluntary to a mandatory basis, especially for 25% of the companies that publish supplementary sustainability reports and/or plans. This result demonstrates that preparers may perceive mandatory NFR as a comprehensive best practice to adequately report their social, economic and environmental performance.Originality/valueThe contribution of this research is threefold. Firstly, it contributes to the social and environmental accounting literature that focuses on NFR quality assessment. Secondly, it contributes to the literature that emphasizes the role of mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphism mechanisms on accounting systems and reporting practices. Thirdly, it contributes to the research gaps for academics highlighted by previous literature on mandatory corporate reporting as a consequence of normative requirements and on the relationship between regulation and mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphic mechanisms within organizations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Meditari Accountancy Research Emerald Publishing

Mandatory vs voluntary exercise on non-financial reporting: does a normative/coercive isomorphism facilitate an increase in quality?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2049-372X
DOI
10.1108/medar-08-2019-0540
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims at investigating the quality of non-financial reporting (NFR) in light of Directive no. 2014/95/EU. Specifically, it focuses on the quality of NFR in Italian companies, as required by Legislative Decree no. 254/2016.Design/methodology/approachThe method used to develop the analysis is mainly qualitative. A content analysis of 184 non-financial reports (NFRs) was conducted on a sample of 92 companies that have been previously involved in the process of NFR on a voluntary basis. Then, a longitudinal analysis was carried out to assess the quality of the NFR conducted from a voluntary to a mandatory basis.FindingsThis study shows that the quality of NFR does not increase when moving from a voluntary to a mandatory basis, especially for 25% of the companies that publish supplementary sustainability reports and/or plans. This result demonstrates that preparers may perceive mandatory NFR as a comprehensive best practice to adequately report their social, economic and environmental performance.Originality/valueThe contribution of this research is threefold. Firstly, it contributes to the social and environmental accounting literature that focuses on NFR quality assessment. Secondly, it contributes to the literature that emphasizes the role of mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphism mechanisms on accounting systems and reporting practices. Thirdly, it contributes to the research gaps for academics highlighted by previous literature on mandatory corporate reporting as a consequence of normative requirements and on the relationship between regulation and mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphic mechanisms within organizations.

Journal

Meditari Accountancy ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 23, 2021

Keywords: Corporate reporting; Social and environmental accounting; Institutional isomorphism; Non-financial report

References