Where is the Accountability in International Accountability Standards?: A Decoupling Perspective
Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 45-72, 2011
29 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012
Date Written: 2011
A common complaint by academics and practitioners is that the application of international accountability standards (IAS) does not lead to significant improvements in an organization's social responsibility. When organizations espouse their commitment to IAS but do not put forth the effort necessary to operationally enact that commitment, a "credibility cover" is created that perpetuates business as usual. In other words, the legitimacy that organizations gain by formally adopting the standards may shield the organization from closer scrutiny, thus enabling rather than constraining the types of activities the standards were designed to discourage.
There is a lack of research on why certain types of IAS are more prone than others to being decoupled from organizational practices. Applying a neo-institutional perspective to IAS, we theorize that the structural dimensions of the types of standards themselves can increase the likelihood of organizations adopting IAS standards in form but not in function.
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