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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2013
Thesis number: 14499
Interaction of sustainability performance measurement system and performance information use in supporting managerial work - Case global manufacturing company
Author: Pello, Riikka
Title: Interaction of sustainability performance measurement system and performance information use in supporting managerial work - Case global manufacturing company
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; kestävä kehitys; sustainable development; tulos; return; mittarit; ratings
Pages: 106
Key terms: sustainability accounting; sustainability information use; sustainability performance measurement; non-financial performance measurement
Objectives of the study - Today's business environment creates increasing pressure on companies to address sustainability in their corporate context. A growing number of senior managers agree that sustainability is a business critical issue, which needs to be managed. Traditionally, manage-ment accounting has had a primary function in developing performance measures to assist man-agers to operationalize organizational goals, yet addressing environmental and social dimensions requires a wider measurement perspective. Despite the call for developing such measurement, the extant research on the topic is scarce and thus provides limited insight into how sustainability per-formance measures can contribute to managerial work. Therefore, the objective of this study is to examine whether and how performance measurement provides useful information and assists managers in their work. More specifically, this study looks at sustainability performance infor-mation use as a part of performance measurement system in an attempt to understand how these two interact in the sustainability context.

Research method and data - The theoretical understanding of the extant research is created through non-financial performance measurement frameworks as well as empirical findings de-rived from traditional and sustainability management accounting literature. These streams of re-search are brought together in a conceptual framework through which the empirical data is then analysed and reflected. The empirical research is carried out using explanatory case method in a single-case setting. The empirical data was gathered through semi-structured interviews in May-August 2013.

Findings of the study - The findings indicate that sustainability performance information is used to justify and inform capital investment decisions, reward subordinates, plan operations, and ena-ble organizational learning and control. Moreover, the research identifies an important knowledge-building role of sustainability performance information, which allows managers devel-oping better understanding of sustainability in the company's context and how to contribute to it. However, the study implicates that the performance information has different implications for knowledge building and management control, depending on a manager's position in the organiza-tion. Finally, initial motivations to the performance measurement, top management commitment, monetizing measures and providing forum for interpretation are identified as the main factors influencing how performance information is and can be used in the case company.
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