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Social reporting in the tobacco industry: all smoke and mirrors?

Social reporting in the tobacco industry: all smoke and mirrors? Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the process of social reporting as a proactive management strategy to bridge the divide between the social and the economic. Design/methodology/approach – In July 2002 British American Tobacco (BAT) launched its first social report coinciding with the release of the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. A case study, utilizing textual analysis of publicly available documents examined through a legitimacy perspective, was used to explore this issue. Findings – This paper asserts that the process, guidelines and assurance employed by BAT for its social report are a management strategy to enter the contested domain of public policy. Research limitations/implications – Since this research is limited to BAT's 2001/2002 Social Report and supporting documents, further research could include interviews with key players or a longitudinal study to compare and contrast the social reporting practices of BAT over time. Originality/value – The tobacco industry has been heavily criticised and is now facing control via global regulation. In this context the WHO, as a multilateral body exercising regulatory powers, extends the notion of stakeholders that have the potential to exert pressure on the “legitimacy” of an organisation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

Social reporting in the tobacco industry: all smoke and mirrors?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/09513570510600747
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the process of social reporting as a proactive management strategy to bridge the divide between the social and the economic. Design/methodology/approach – In July 2002 British American Tobacco (BAT) launched its first social report coinciding with the release of the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. A case study, utilizing textual analysis of publicly available documents examined through a legitimacy perspective, was used to explore this issue. Findings – This paper asserts that the process, guidelines and assurance employed by BAT for its social report are a management strategy to enter the contested domain of public policy. Research limitations/implications – Since this research is limited to BAT's 2001/2002 Social Report and supporting documents, further research could include interviews with key players or a longitudinal study to compare and contrast the social reporting practices of BAT over time. Originality/value – The tobacco industry has been heavily criticised and is now facing control via global regulation. In this context the WHO, as a multilateral body exercising regulatory powers, extends the notion of stakeholders that have the potential to exert pressure on the “legitimacy” of an organisation.

Journal

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 2005

Keywords: Tobacco; Annual reports; Management theory

References