Public Image Limited: Most Companies Appreciate the Importance of How the Markets Rate Them on Corporate Social Responsibility, but Do the Measures They Report Externally Truly Influence the Decisions Their Managers Make Internally? John Innes and Gweneth Norris Have Their Doubts. (Social Reporting)

By Innes, John; Norris, Gweneth | Financial Management (UK), July-August 2003 | Go to article overview

Public Image Limited: Most Companies Appreciate the Importance of How the Markets Rate Them on Corporate Social Responsibility, but Do the Measures They Report Externally Truly Influence the Decisions Their Managers Make Internally? John Innes and Gweneth Norris Have Their Doubts. (Social Reporting)


Innes, John, Norris, Gweneth, Financial Management (UK)


What information can management accountants provide to managers to help them improve their organisations' social performance? In recent years research has focused overwhelmingly on the external reporting of social performance measures. The measures reported internally and the social information provided to managers have been neglected in comparison. Our CIMA-funded study concentrated on internal reporting in four organisations that published external social reports. For examples of performance aspects that were reported to managers in these four firms, see the panel opposite.

Almost all of the people we interviewed thought that the externally reported social performance measures had relatively little influence on managerial decision-making. Their general view was summed up by one interviewee: "In the past, external social reporting in this company was an event unto itself, and it was important to get all this information out there in voluminous detail. Yet in reality this had very little to do with the business at all."

But the externally reported social performance measures' lack of influence was more than compensated for by the effect of each organisation's social values on the decision-making process. Examples of social values that were influential included the use of recycled materials, ethical investments and educational liaison activities with schools.

One basic question is why organisations are interested in reporting social performance at all, internally or externally. In each of the four cases the interviewees were asked why they thought their organisation was concerned about its own social performance. Their replies can be summarised as follows:

* Each company wanted to be an ethical organisation that was respected for its environmental and social performance.

* Such an image was considered to be good for business. Although this could entail high costs for the company in the short run, all the interviewees thought that the long-term effect of a good image would boost profits, because it would help to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

Social reporting obviously has an ethical aspect, but self-interest is a major factor. All four organisations took advantage of their good social reputations in their marketing campaigns. Most of the interviewees considered that their organisations' social image was extremely important for several stakeholder groups. The groups they identified were similar in all four organisations: namely, communities, customers, employees, environment, shareholders and suppliers (although interviewees in one firm also identified neighbours and tenants as stakeholders). But the priority given to different stakeholder groups varied between the four, even though three of them were in the same sector. This ranking difference was important, because most interviewees accepted that there would sometimes be conflicts and trade-offs between different groups in relation to social performance.

All four organisations conducted surveys of at least some of their stakeholder groups. The most common surveys were of employees, customers and shareholders. They tried also to hold some form of dialogue with groups such as communities and suppliers.

Perhaps surprisingly, the externally reported social performance measures weren't necessarily those that were used internally. With the exception of one ease, there were few links between the externally and internally reported measures. Generally, the latter were underdeveloped by comparison, but they did exist in relation to:

* communities (eg, the percentage of employees participating in community projects);

* employees (eg, staff retention rates);

* environment (eg, energy usage).

Links between the reported measures (both internally and externally) and the evaluation system for managers were almost nonexistent. Three organisations did say they were planning to develop links between the externally reported measures and their internal reporting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Public Image Limited: Most Companies Appreciate the Importance of How the Markets Rate Them on Corporate Social Responsibility, but Do the Measures They Report Externally Truly Influence the Decisions Their Managers Make Internally? John Innes and Gweneth Norris Have Their Doubts. (Social Reporting)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.