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The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance: A field study approach

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The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance : A field study approach. / Edgley, Carla; Jones, Michael; Atkins, Jill.

In: British Accounting Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, 01.03.2015, p. 1-18.

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Edgley, Carla ; Jones, Michael ; Atkins, Jill. / The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance : A field study approach. In: British Accounting Review. 2015 ; Vol. 47, No. 1. pp. 1-18.

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@article{7f52795e06cb48ea98f35aeacbfab419,
title = "The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance: A field study approach",
abstract = "This study investigates the logics or values that shape the social and environmental reporting (SER) and SER assurance (SERA) process. The influence of logics is observed through a study of the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the materiality concept by accounting and non-accounting assurors and their assurance statements. We gathered qualitative data from interviews with both accounting and non-accounting assurors. We analysed the interplay between old and new logics that are shaping materiality as a reporting concept in SER. SER is a rich field in which to study the dynamics of change because it is a voluntary, unregulated, qualitative reporting arena. It has a broad, stakeholder audience, where accounting and non-accounting organisations are in competition. There are three key findings. First, the introduction of a new, stakeholder logic has significantly changed the meaning and role of materiality. Second, a more versatile, performative, social understanding of materiality was portrayed by assurors, with a forward-looking rather than a historic focus. Third, competing logics have encouraged different beliefs about materiality, and practices, to develop. This influenced the way assurors theorised the concept and interpreted outcomes. A patchwork of localised understandings of materiality is developing. Policy implications both in SERA and also in financial audit are explored.",
keywords = "Institutional logics, Materiality, Social and environmental reporting assurance (SERA)",
author = "Carla Edgley and Michael Jones and Jill Atkins",
year = "2015",
month = "3",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.bar.2014.11.001",
language = "English",
volume = "47",
pages = "1--18",
journal = "British Accounting Review",
issn = "0890-8389",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "1",

}

RIS - suitable for import to EndNote

TY - JOUR

T1 - The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance

T2 - A field study approach

AU - Edgley, Carla

AU - Jones, Michael

AU - Atkins, Jill

PY - 2015/3/1

Y1 - 2015/3/1

N2 - This study investigates the logics or values that shape the social and environmental reporting (SER) and SER assurance (SERA) process. The influence of logics is observed through a study of the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the materiality concept by accounting and non-accounting assurors and their assurance statements. We gathered qualitative data from interviews with both accounting and non-accounting assurors. We analysed the interplay between old and new logics that are shaping materiality as a reporting concept in SER. SER is a rich field in which to study the dynamics of change because it is a voluntary, unregulated, qualitative reporting arena. It has a broad, stakeholder audience, where accounting and non-accounting organisations are in competition. There are three key findings. First, the introduction of a new, stakeholder logic has significantly changed the meaning and role of materiality. Second, a more versatile, performative, social understanding of materiality was portrayed by assurors, with a forward-looking rather than a historic focus. Third, competing logics have encouraged different beliefs about materiality, and practices, to develop. This influenced the way assurors theorised the concept and interpreted outcomes. A patchwork of localised understandings of materiality is developing. Policy implications both in SERA and also in financial audit are explored.

AB - This study investigates the logics or values that shape the social and environmental reporting (SER) and SER assurance (SERA) process. The influence of logics is observed through a study of the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the materiality concept by accounting and non-accounting assurors and their assurance statements. We gathered qualitative data from interviews with both accounting and non-accounting assurors. We analysed the interplay between old and new logics that are shaping materiality as a reporting concept in SER. SER is a rich field in which to study the dynamics of change because it is a voluntary, unregulated, qualitative reporting arena. It has a broad, stakeholder audience, where accounting and non-accounting organisations are in competition. There are three key findings. First, the introduction of a new, stakeholder logic has significantly changed the meaning and role of materiality. Second, a more versatile, performative, social understanding of materiality was portrayed by assurors, with a forward-looking rather than a historic focus. Third, competing logics have encouraged different beliefs about materiality, and practices, to develop. This influenced the way assurors theorised the concept and interpreted outcomes. A patchwork of localised understandings of materiality is developing. Policy implications both in SERA and also in financial audit are explored.

KW - Institutional logics

KW - Materiality

KW - Social and environmental reporting assurance (SERA)

U2 - 10.1016/j.bar.2014.11.001

DO - 10.1016/j.bar.2014.11.001

M3 - Article

VL - 47

SP - 1

EP - 18

JO - British Accounting Review

JF - British Accounting Review

SN - 0890-8389

IS - 1

ER -