Evaluating the integrated reporting journey: insights, gaps and agendas for future research

Leonardo Rinaldi, Jeffrey Unerman, Charl de Villiers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The aim of the paper is to identify key challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses experienced by the integrated reporting idea since the IIRC’s Discussion Paper was published in late 2011. It provides insights into the phases of the integrated reporting journey as investigated by accounting researchers, identifies important gaps in the literature, and sketches an agenda for future research.

The paper develops a theoretically informed analysis of published integrated reporting research articles using the Idea Journey theoretical framework. The paper draws upon academic analysis and insights published in 65 integrated reporting related articles across 83 accounting journals listed in the Scopus database.

A key insight of the paper is that the academic literature has not yet covered all stages of the integrated reporting idea journey. The highest proportion of articles provide insights in the generation and production phases of this journey, while there is relatively little research into the impact phase of the integrated reporting idea. Furthermore, the locus of research covered by the current integrated reporting literature is situated at macro- and meso-levels. This reveals opportunities for future research to explore, at a more detailed level, interactions between single individuals or small groups in implementing or understanding the integrated reporting idea.

Research limitations/implications
This paper focuses on the idea journey of the IIRC’s version of IR. It identifies gaps regarding the stages of the integrated reporting idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature and suggests some research areas that need to be addressed to help inform improvements in policy and practice. A key limitation is that it draws on a single communication channel, namely academic articles published in accounting journals, but it provides opportunities for considerable further developments.

The paper extends integrated reporting research by reconciling insights from an understandably fragmented emerging literature. It provides a multi-dimensional perspective on integrated reporting, highlighting the dynamics and interrelationships in the literature. It also helps inform improvements in research, policy and practice by identifying gaps regarding the stages of the integrated reporting idea journey that have not been covered by the extant academic literature. Lastly, the paper builds on the work of innovation and creativity scholars showing how the idea journey framework can be used to shape and add coherence to accounting research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1318
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018

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