Write a fully referenced paper that addresses the requirements below. Students are required to use the source article and other academic reference sources to substantiate their key arguments.
1. Provide a brief summary and analysis of the key insights raised in the source article.
Improving sustainability accounting and performance of organization
The purpose of article is to present a case for research in social, ethical, environmental and accountability with the organizations that manages and make reporting of their sustainability performance. A critics and analysis of management research extent is the sustainability accounting field is provided in the paper. It draws on field of management accounting by presenting further research engagement with accountability practice and sustainability accounting. It has been ascertained by reviewing the article that there has been extant literature in the field of sustainability reporting and accounting. This has been done in contrast to the fields of management accounting. It has been that found that concerns about increasing the participants breadth in managerial capture and social accounting agenda results in lacking of engaging research. There is potentiality of improving the practice, theorizing and sustainable performance of organization with the help of engagement research (Adams and Larrinaga-González 2007). Researchers engaged with organizations practicing sustainability reporting and accounting are provided a way forward sing information used in article.
Accounting research has a mixed record of being engaged directly with the accounting practice. Academics research has a role in making difference to sustainability reporting and accounting. Engagement research is addressed in academic research and assurance and integrated reporting. This helps in addressing critical issues that help in improving the responses of the organization toward sustainable accounting and accountability of their relationship with the environment and society. However, it is not necessary for academics to respond to fiduciary responsibilities of researchers towards society. There has been increasing recognition of the collaboration of academic research and practice and a contested debate between the professional practice and academic accounting research. This helps in offering scope for the accounting academics to engage with the society and profession and the impact of their research. Role of academics accounting with businesses in pursuit of improving the sustainability and performance is one of the challenging, engaging and critiquing in debate (Adams and Adams 2017).
Engagement of academics with business in pursuit of improving sustainability accounting performance:
A concern for protecting the natural environment motivates the research in the field of accountability and sustainable accounting. Activities of Multinational Corporation is responsible for exploiting the rich nations of poor nations. It was argued by Ball (2014) that the development of environmental and societal reporting theories has been done without engaging organizations performing sustainability reporting. Accountability that is discharged through the disclosures of corporates is dependent on attitude of participants, reporting process and culture of corporates. It is required by new research avenues to open urgently considering the environmental and social crisis and increasing pressure to respond to scenario. It is required by research avenues to make engagement with the organization to make the examination accountability and the processes of social, environmental and ethical accounting. This also involves the manners in which the data are collected and reported and the subsequent response that it has on the performance of organization. The consequence of carrying pot earlier research and critiques might lead to the lack of engagement in environmental and social accountability research (Bebbington et al. 2014).
A special issue has been addressed in the article by engaging the case for research with the organizations practicing the sustainability accountability and accounting. There is a growing concern of management research and the research is criticized by aligning with the business form of engagement and bringing forward the issues. The main challenge addressed in the article is to engage the inside of organization to gain knowledge about the internal processes of organization that would lead to economic, social and environmental accountability.
Potential research project undertaken by UNISA Australia:
Sustainability accounting reporting has become critically important to corporate sector and the elected organization undertaking the potential research for sustainability accounting in Australian local councils. The research strategy or the project undertaken by local councils is to obtain an in depth understanding of the engagement of stakeholders in the sustainability reporting and accounting process.
Aims and objective of research project that could be undertaken:
The aim of the project undertaken by UNISA is to establish the extent and nature of engagement with stakeholders in the sustainability reporting and accounting process. Key stakeholders of organization needs to be identified and mechanism of stakeholders are used to engage with them. Project would emphasize on determining the factors that drives engagement in sustainability accounting. Few objectives of research undertaken by organization are as follows:
- Identification of mechanism undertaken by organization for engaging stakeholders in the sustainability reporting and accounting process.
- To identify various challenges faced by organization when involving stakeholders in maintaining sustainability accounting.
- To investigate the factors that drives the organization to engage stakeholders in their sustainability reporting and accounting process.
Theoretical perspective guiding the research:
The theoretical perspective that is informed in this study are provided by sustainability reporting and accounting, new institutional theory and stakeholder theory for addressing the engagement of stakeholders in the sustainability reporting and process of accounting. The incorporated framework of sustainability reporting helps in creating the sustainability process of accounting in the project that can be undertaken. Various stages involves in the accounting process of sustainability are specified by framework. The need of engaging the stakeholders in the sustainability accounting is justified by the stakeholder theory and such understanding is essential for determining the contribution and interest of several stakeholders in sustainability accounting. A framework for explaining how, whom and why of engaging the theoretical perspective provides the stakeholders understood in carrying out the project (Lodhia 2013).
An integrated framework for management and maintenance for performance of sustainability:
(Source: Maas et al. 2016)
The research method that is used for collection and gathering of data is based on documentary analysis and an unstructured interview with the managers of various organizations that assist local councils in Australia. Method of collecting data includes interview with key executives involved in sustainability reporting and accounting. Detailed information was provided in research and current project undertaken by organization using such methods of data collection. Analysis of collected data was done through cross case comparisons and reviewing the cases individually (Rinaldi et al. 2014).
Some of the previous research related to sustainability accounting and it was not comprehensive to meet the needs of stakeholder engagement. The contribution of present research or project that can be undertaken helps in determination of key elements in the sustainability reporting and accounting. Study lacked in depth analysis for focusing on sustainability reporting that begins with strategic planning. One of the integral component of sustainability planning is the engagement of stakeholders (Ceulemans 2015). It is suggested by findings that appropriate strategy for delivering sustainability policies and plan that is stakeholders centric and it relates to engagement activities that is undertaken in correlation with stakeholders.
Contribution of research to academia and practice:
The research project undertaken by UNISA Australia provided guidance to academia and practice to achieve effective corporate governance through openness and accountability. It has been indicated by the research project of the councils of University of South Australia that development of strategic plan involves stakeholders. Research project has been able to address complex issues in handling the sustainability reporting. It was also investigated that there is a considerable variances in the involvement of community and engagement with external institutional influences along with internal stakeholders’ engagement. In order to encourage the mass participation in the sustainability reporting, they needs to be involved in the process using contemporary and traditional technological media (Higgins and Larrinaga 2014).
The article raises the concern about contribution of research in improving the sustainability report and accounting. Environmental and social crisis can be urgently responded by conceive engagement research. The research project undertaken by UNISA Australia would help practice and academia in optimizing the outcome of engagement by coercive influences such as regulations that exerted pressure on council (Hahn and Kühnen 2013).
The article has raised the issue of sustainability accounting in organizations and the research project undertaken by UNISA Australia has involved stakeholders’ engagement in reporting process that would ensure transparency. It discusses about level of engagement of stakeholders and taking it to next level. Development of strategic plan and the rigorous academic framework in the flied of sustainability reporting requires the need to respond to the merging issues. Further research in this area would lead to development of sustainability business model that help in driving the force of firm in their decision-making. An organization employing such model needs to develop internal and external capabilities for achieving sustainability at organizational level by engaging the stakeholders. Research would indirectly help in enhancing such practice when engagement is failure in organization. Project undertaken by organization would help in uncovering mechanics that helps in enabling the stakeholders to challenges mechanics evolved in some other case.
Adams, C.A. and Adams, C.A., 2017. Conceptualising the contemporary corporate value creation process. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 30(4), pp.906-931.
Adams, C.A. and Larrinaga-González, C., 2007. Engaging with organisations in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 20(3), pp.333-355.
Adams, C.A., 2015. The international integrated reporting council: a call to action. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27, pp.23-28.
Ball, A., Grubnic, S. and Birchall, J., 2014. 11 Sustainability accounting and accountability in the public sector. Sustainability accounting and accountability, p.176.
Bebbington, J., Unerman, J. and O'Dwyer, B. eds., 2014. Sustainability accounting and accountability. Routledge.
Ceulemans, K., Molderez, I. and Van Liedekerke, L., 2015. Sustainability reporting in higher education: A comprehensive review of the recent literature and paths for further research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, pp.127-143.
Hahn, R. and Kühnen, M., 2013. Determinants of sustainability reporting: a review of results, trends, theory, and opportunities in an expanding field of research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 59, pp.5-21.
Higgins, C. and Larrinaga, C., 2014. 16 Sustainability reporting. Sustainability accounting and accountability, p.273.
Irwin, R., Samuel, G., Williams, A. and Stowell, A.F., 2016. Bridging the practitioner-academic gap in sustainability accounting and reporting.
Lodhia, S 2013, ‘Sustainability Accounting and Reporting: An Overview, Contemporary Developments and Research Possibilities’, in G Wells (ed), Sustainable Business: Theory and Practice of Business under Sustainability Principles, Edward Elgar, United Kingdom, pp. 73-86.
Maas, K., Schaltegger, S. and Crutzen, N., 2016. Integrating corporate sustainability assessment, management accounting, control, and reporting. Journal of Cleaner Production, 136, pp.237-248.
Rinaldi, L., Unerman, J. and Tilt, C., 2014. The role of stakeholder engagement and dialogue within the sustainability accounting and reporting process. Sustainability accounting and accountability, pp.86-107.