This PhD by published work comprises 11 papers published between 2006 and 2009. The research is focussed upon voluntary and related financial reporting by UK companies in their annual report. The level, and more importantly, the importance of voluntary disclosure has significantly increased over the last 20 years (Campbell, Moore and Shrives, 2006) and this submission provides academic and policy relevant contributions to that field. The papers make specific contributions to the extant literature in discrete areas primarily; philanthropy, social and environmental reporting. These 11 publications adopt a range of research methods appropriate to different research questions. The qualitative papers demonstrate successful engagement with a number of high level participant stakeholders from the building society sector, fair trade organisations and UK capital markets as well as capturing disclosure content relevant to other stakeholder groups. Other papers have adopted a positivist approach with appropriate longitudinal and cross sectional data used to test theory. Two of the research projects relating to strategic philanthropy and decision–usefulness of disclosure were supported by external research funding and therefore demonstrate the policy relevance and impact of the research contribution in those areas. Within the commentary, the research is presented in two sections, followed by a conclusion which shows the research impact of the publications and the international dissemination of the research contribution and findings. The key findings of Section 1 show the financial and non-financial influences on levels of philanthropy; inconsistency of philanthropy policy reporting; social disclosure responses to legitimacy threats and the reporting validity of the annual report; a holistic approach to responsible business practice and insights into the mainstreaming of Fair Trade. Section 2 provides findings into the decision-usefulness of a range of voluntary disclosure narratives in the annual report, developed in detail in respect of environmental disclosures and related risk factors and insights into the current issues facing accounting.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 14 Jun 2010|