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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Corporate Communication | 2016
Thesis number: 14402
Integrated reporting in Europe: On motives and cross-industry motive variations as depicted in corporate annual reports
Author: Reindl, Ulrike
Title: Integrated reporting in Europe: On motives and cross-industry motive variations as depicted in corporate annual reports
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Corporate Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; strategia; strategy; osakkaat; stakeholders; suhdetoiminta; public relations
Pages: 107
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14402.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1181282)
Key terms: corporate communication, strategic communication, investor relations, corporate annual reporting, integrated reporting, framework, IIRC, content analysis, thematic qualitative text analysis
Abstract:
Research objective First, the aim of this pilot study was to examine the motives of European companies to practice integrated reporting applying The International Integrated Reporting Framework that has been introduced by The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in 2013. Second it aimed at revealing possible motive differentiations among certain industry sectors. However, in addition to a contribution to the investigation of motives for integrated reporting practice, the study made efforts to offer a contribution to investor relations as an academic discipline, which accounts for the least studied field in corporate communication.

Methodology and theoretical foundations To illuminate possible motives and motive variations, thematic qualitative text analysis was chosen for examining 15 corporate annual reports within the financial services, utilities, consumer goods, and oil and gas sector. For approaching the phenomenon under study the theoretical foundations illustrated the importance of strategic communication, organizational legitimacy, the Nordic School approach for investor relations, and stakeholder engagement.

Findings and conclusions The study found, the main drivers for engaging in integrated reporting to be (1) enhanced reporting efficiency, (2) improved trust and transparency, and (3) enabling the representation of a holistic business performance model. It revealed that the industry sectors applying this newly launched framework were differently motivated to engage in this reporting method. Whereas enhanced reporting efficiency was interpreted to be the main driver for the utilities industry, and the oil and gas sector, it was enhanced trust and transparency, and enabling to demonstrate long-term value creation that made the consumer goods practice integrated reporting. For the financial services sector the opportunity to report on a holistic business performance model was the main motive to apply integrated reporting. Thus, this study confirms what scholars have assumed earlier: motives to practice integrated reporting vary, not only by companies but also by respective industry sectors. The results indicate that business practitioners might choose to apply the framework above other reporting practices if, for instance, they aim at enhancing stakeholder engagement. Further, the findings seem to suggest that a one- size-fits-all solution for an framework is not an optimal solution in practice.
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