'Integrated Reporting Is Like God: No One Has Met Him, but Everybody Talks About Him.' The Power of Myths in the Adoption of Management Innovations

Gibassier, Rodrigue and Arjaliès (2018) “Integrated Reporting, it’s like God, No One Met Him but Everybody Talks about Him”: The Power of Myths in the Adoption of Management Innovations, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31, 5: 1349-1380

40 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2016 Last revised: 13 Jun 2019

See all articles by Delphine Gibassier

Delphine Gibassier

Audencia Business School

Michelle Rodrigue

École de comptabilité, Université Laval

Diane-Laure Arjaliès

Ivey Business School at Western University

Date Written: November 17, 2017

Abstract

This paper was “Highly Commended” in the 2018 Mary Parker Follett Award competition (i.e. selected among the top three papers published in the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal in 2018).

Purpose: This paper analyzes the process through which an IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council) pilot company adopted "integrated reporting" (IR), a management innovation that merges financial and non-financial reporting.

Design/methodology/approach: We use a seven-year longitudinal ethnographic study based on semi-structured interviews, observations, and documentary evidence to analyze this multinational company's IR adoption process from its decision to become an IIRC pilot organization to the publication of its first integrated report.

Findings: We demonstrate that the company envisioned IR as a "rational myth" (Hatchuel, 1998; Hatchuel and Weil, 1992). This conceptualization acted as a springboard for IR adoption, with the mythical dimension residing in the promise that IR had the potential to portray global performance in light of the company's own foundational myth. The company challenged the vision of IR suggested by the IIRC to stay true to its conceptualization of IR and eventually chose to implement its own version of an integrated report.

Originality/value: We enrich previous research on integrated reporting and management innovations by showing how important it is for organizations to acknowledge the mythical dimension of the management innovations they pursue to support their adoption processes. Based on these findings, we argue that myths can play a productive role in transforming business (reporting) practices. We also identify some transition conditions that make this transformation possible and discuss the implications of these results for the future of IR, sustainability and accounting more broadly.

Keywords: Adoption, Corporate Reporting, IIRC, Innovation, Integrated Reporting, Rational Myth, Sustainability

JEL Classification: M41, M00, M14, M40

Suggested Citation

Gibassier, Delphine and Rodrigue, Michelle and Arjaliès, Diane-Laure, 'Integrated Reporting Is Like God: No One Has Met Him, but Everybody Talks About Him.' The Power of Myths in the Adoption of Management Innovations (November 17, 2017). Gibassier, Rodrigue and Arjaliès (2018) “Integrated Reporting, it’s like God, No One Met Him but Everybody Talks about Him”: The Power of Myths in the Adoption of Management Innovations, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31, 5: 1349-1380 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880144

Delphine Gibassier (Contact Author)

Audencia Business School ( email )

8 Road Joneliere
BP 31222
Nantes Cedex 3, 44312
France

Michelle Rodrigue

École de comptabilité, Université Laval ( email )

Québec, Québec G1V 0A6
Canada

Diane-Laure Arjaliès

Ivey Business School at Western University ( email )

London, Ontario
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/faculty/directory/diane-laure-arjalies/

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