Many theoretical frameworks can inform the study of sustainability reporting in non-financial disclosure. This research intends to contribute to the accounting literature through a systematic literature review of 205 research articles published from 1989 to 2019. These articles involve the application of different theories to the study of social, environmental, and sustainability reporting. This study is the first systematic literature review focusing on the various theoretical approaches—and their interconnections—that showed a successful capacity to explain firms’ commitment toward SES reporting. Besides the main theories—specifically legitimacy, stakeholder, and institutional—this study will discuss the emerging application of other ideas to the field of sustainability reporting, with particular reference to agency, signaling, discourse, attribution, social movement, structuration theories, and multi-theory frameworks. This study can help scholars in need of a systematization of the last 30 years of literature concerning theoretical frameworks able to support the study of non-financial disclosure. Moreover, this contribution can help policymakers and practitioners to better understand the rationales behind firms’ commitment to voluntary non-financial disclosure and the arguments advocating mandatory disclosure frameworks concerning sustainability issues.

A Systematic Literature Review of Theories Underpinning Sustainability Reporting in Non-financial Disclosure

Bartolacci, Francesca;Soverchia, Michela
2022-01-01

Abstract

Many theoretical frameworks can inform the study of sustainability reporting in non-financial disclosure. This research intends to contribute to the accounting literature through a systematic literature review of 205 research articles published from 1989 to 2019. These articles involve the application of different theories to the study of social, environmental, and sustainability reporting. This study is the first systematic literature review focusing on the various theoretical approaches—and their interconnections—that showed a successful capacity to explain firms’ commitment toward SES reporting. Besides the main theories—specifically legitimacy, stakeholder, and institutional—this study will discuss the emerging application of other ideas to the field of sustainability reporting, with particular reference to agency, signaling, discourse, attribution, social movement, structuration theories, and multi-theory frameworks. This study can help scholars in need of a systematization of the last 30 years of literature concerning theoretical frameworks able to support the study of non-financial disclosure. Moreover, this contribution can help policymakers and practitioners to better understand the rationales behind firms’ commitment to voluntary non-financial disclosure and the arguments advocating mandatory disclosure frameworks concerning sustainability issues.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11393/293410
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