Power and environmental reporting-practice in business networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the use of power in a business network context is investigated, in relation to companies’ environmental reporting and practice choices. Second, the environmental reporting-practice portrayal gap is examined, focussing on inter-organisational environmental practices (such as green supply chain management).

Design/methodology/approach
A network case study was undertaken in the Western Australian agrifood sector, with the two large, dominant supermarkets as focal actors. Data were drawn from 34 in-depth interviews from 2011 to 2013 and a document review including 15 years of supermarket reports.

Findings

The study showed the exercise of government power bases and its effect on supermarket and other supply chain actors’ reporting and practice choices. The data suggest a differential use of power by supermarkets with suppliers, depending on supplier type and environmental practice characteristics. The study revealed surprisingly transparent reporting of the lack of whole-of-supply-chain approach by the supermarkets and admission of shareholder power over reporting and practice choices. In addition, other reporting-practice portrayal gaps relating to inter-organisational environmental practices were found.

Originality/value

The study provides a unique network level analysis of how power relations interact and influence companies’ choices of environmental reporting and practice, thereby contributing to prior power and environmental reporting literature. Contributions are made to extant literature dealing with the reporting-practice portrayal gap by focussing on inter-organisational environmental reporting and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-657
Number of pages26
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

Environmental reporting
Environmental practices
Business networks
Supermarkets
Supply chain
Suppliers
Government
Levels of analysis
Power relations
Admission
Exercise
Green supply chain management
Shareholders
In-depth interviews
Design methodology

Cite this

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title = "Power and environmental reporting-practice in business networks",
abstract = "PurposeThe purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the use of power in a business network context is investigated, in relation to companies’ environmental reporting and practice choices. Second, the environmental reporting-practice portrayal gap is examined, focussing on inter-organisational environmental practices (such as green supply chain management).Design/methodology/approachA network case study was undertaken in the Western Australian agrifood sector, with the two large, dominant supermarkets as focal actors. Data were drawn from 34 in-depth interviews from 2011 to 2013 and a document review including 15 years of supermarket reports.FindingsThe study showed the exercise of government power bases and its effect on supermarket and other supply chain actors’ reporting and practice choices. The data suggest a differential use of power by supermarkets with suppliers, depending on supplier type and environmental practice characteristics. The study revealed surprisingly transparent reporting of the lack of whole-of-supply-chain approach by the supermarkets and admission of shareholder power over reporting and practice choices. In addition, other reporting-practice portrayal gaps relating to inter-organisational environmental practices were found.Originality/valueThe study provides a unique network level analysis of how power relations interact and influence companies’ choices of environmental reporting and practice, thereby contributing to prior power and environmental reporting literature. Contributions are made to extant literature dealing with the reporting-practice portrayal gap by focussing on inter-organisational environmental reporting and practice.",
author = "Lyndie Bayne and Sharon Purchase and Ann Tarca",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1108/AAAJ-07-2016-2629",
language = "English",
pages = "632--657",
journal = "Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal",
issn = "0951-3574",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing Limited",

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AU - Purchase, Sharon

AU - Tarca, Ann

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N2 - PurposeThe purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the use of power in a business network context is investigated, in relation to companies’ environmental reporting and practice choices. Second, the environmental reporting-practice portrayal gap is examined, focussing on inter-organisational environmental practices (such as green supply chain management).Design/methodology/approachA network case study was undertaken in the Western Australian agrifood sector, with the two large, dominant supermarkets as focal actors. Data were drawn from 34 in-depth interviews from 2011 to 2013 and a document review including 15 years of supermarket reports.FindingsThe study showed the exercise of government power bases and its effect on supermarket and other supply chain actors’ reporting and practice choices. The data suggest a differential use of power by supermarkets with suppliers, depending on supplier type and environmental practice characteristics. The study revealed surprisingly transparent reporting of the lack of whole-of-supply-chain approach by the supermarkets and admission of shareholder power over reporting and practice choices. In addition, other reporting-practice portrayal gaps relating to inter-organisational environmental practices were found.Originality/valueThe study provides a unique network level analysis of how power relations interact and influence companies’ choices of environmental reporting and practice, thereby contributing to prior power and environmental reporting literature. Contributions are made to extant literature dealing with the reporting-practice portrayal gap by focussing on inter-organisational environmental reporting and practice.

AB - PurposeThe purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the use of power in a business network context is investigated, in relation to companies’ environmental reporting and practice choices. Second, the environmental reporting-practice portrayal gap is examined, focussing on inter-organisational environmental practices (such as green supply chain management).Design/methodology/approachA network case study was undertaken in the Western Australian agrifood sector, with the two large, dominant supermarkets as focal actors. Data were drawn from 34 in-depth interviews from 2011 to 2013 and a document review including 15 years of supermarket reports.FindingsThe study showed the exercise of government power bases and its effect on supermarket and other supply chain actors’ reporting and practice choices. The data suggest a differential use of power by supermarkets with suppliers, depending on supplier type and environmental practice characteristics. The study revealed surprisingly transparent reporting of the lack of whole-of-supply-chain approach by the supermarkets and admission of shareholder power over reporting and practice choices. In addition, other reporting-practice portrayal gaps relating to inter-organisational environmental practices were found.Originality/valueThe study provides a unique network level analysis of how power relations interact and influence companies’ choices of environmental reporting and practice, thereby contributing to prior power and environmental reporting literature. Contributions are made to extant literature dealing with the reporting-practice portrayal gap by focussing on inter-organisational environmental reporting and practice.

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JO - Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal

JF - Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal

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