Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Emancipatory Accounting in China: Does Alternative Social Reporting of Non-Governmental Organisations Address Corporate Social Responsibility Problems?

Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Emancipatory Accounting in China: Does Alternative Social Reporting of Non-Governmental Organisations Address Corporate Social Responsibility Problems?

Article excerpt

Abstract. With the increasing number of corporate scandals such as Enron, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement has become a global phenomenon and attracted ever more attention nowadays. Although a large number of corporations have begun to choose corporate social reporting to provide social and environmental information for proclaiming their social responsibilities, corporate social reporting is widely regarded as a public relation opportunity to respond to social pressures. Treating corporate social reporting as an addendum to conventional accounting which serves for ruling classes in society, critical accounting researchers suggest radical changes of current social accounting practices and alternative accounting practices to go beyond the conventional accounting practices and to have positive impact on CSR development. Focusing on the potential transformative nature of accounting and alternative social reporting of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), this paper investigates roles of NGOs' social reporting in generating emancipatory changes of accounting as well as promoting CSR development in China, from both theoretical and empirical ways. On the basis of empirical work, the paper concludes that NGO's social reporting, as a form of emancipatory accounting practices in China, plays a positive role in CSR development; however, its influence is restricted due to several reasons.

Keywords: emancipatory accounting, social reporting, corporate social responsibility, non- governmental organisation, China.

1 INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues have become a global topic and been concerned widely throughout the world. Early since the 1970s, corporations have begun to publish CSR reports or disclose environmental and social information to the public in order to defend corporations against critiques and relieve the pressure from social community. Then ever more corporations started to choose corporate social reporting for proclaiming their social responsibility obligations ranging from environmental protection, employee health and safety, stakeholder relationships etc. (Cooper, 2010; Parker, 1986). However, from the corporate perspective, social reporting and disclosures are considered as a tool of public relations rather than solutions to CSR problems. Gaps remain between what corporations have professed to undertake social responsibilities and what they actually have done in practice; and their social reporting is selectively used for only proclaiming positive effects of their activities on society, while neglecting conflicts between their business and social welfare (Gray et al., 1987; Unerman et al., 2007).

This paper focuses on the transformative nature of accounting to go beyond the conventional accounting and generate radical changes of social accounting practices. In the study of emancipatory changes of accounting in dealing with CSR problems, roles of Non- government Organisations (NGOs) in effecting accounting mobilization are highlighted. The paper discusses roles of NGOs and their alternative social reporting practices in effecting emancipatory changes of accounting to promote development of CSR in the context of China, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, and both primary and secondary data are collected and analyzed for supporting the research. This paper is divided into four sections. After a brief introduction to the research, demand of alternative accounting practice, roles of NGOs in social movements as well as current situations of NGOs in the context of China are discussed. Following the theoretical investigation, this paper illustrates the research methods and then discusses empirical findings about roles of NGOs in CSR development in China. Finally, on the basis of the previous discussion, conclusions are made about positive roles of NGOs' alternative social reporting practices in resolving CSR problems.

2 EMANCIPATORY ACCOUNTING AND NGO

2. …

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