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Credit Ratings Agencies play a critical role in the debt markets but they have been heavily criticised for their lack of scrutiny in the financial crisis. Working on various projects with the University of the West of Scotland and Nottingham Trent University, this research has examined market participants’ perceptions of ratings quality, the role of commitment in debt issuer: CRA relations and market participants’ perceptions of the EU regulation regarding CRAs.
Institutional investors play an important role in the corporate governance process by monitoring and engaging with their investee companies (stewardship role). This project explores the stewardship role of institutional investors by undertaking a content analysis of the institutional investors’ Stewardship Statements required under the recently implemented UK Stewardship Code.
This strand of research focuses on the role of Accounting in Society by drawing on political and social theory. Individual projects focus on:
This project investigates how performance measures are used to manage charities. Voluntary sector organisations are under increasing pressure to account for their performance via measures. The study employs 5 case studies of UK hospices to understand the role of performance measures in performance management. It argues that management control is exercised by other mechanisms than just measures.
Projects in this area examine:
This study assesses mutual benefits to be gained from cross-disciplinary research that examines how marketing and stakeholder management functions can learn from, and inform each other to enhance theory and practice. A ladder of relationship marketing is presented; it shows levels of stakeholder engagement in the contexts of trust, conflict and power. This research demonstrates where marketers could benefit from extending the focus of relationship management from the customer to a wider range of marketing stakeholders to build trust and foster loyalty. It highlights how advanced engagement approaches that have evolved from marketing practice exceed current thought in stakeholder theory.
This research presents an analysis of the boundary of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting (CSRR). Many companies strategically define boundary and consequently omit many material impacts. Content analysis of 2014-15 CSRR of 35 airline companies is undertaken to determine boundary constructs. A coding framework is derived from analysis of 23 CSRR guidance and 22/46 GRI (2013) indicators assessed to have the potential to demonstrate an extended boundary. Correlation analysis indicates strategic boundary setting across issues, pseudo-stakeholder consultation and ineffective attempts by GRI to widen boundary setting in practice. The implications of boundary construction are illustrated with worse/best case examples.
This research reviews the extent to which stakeholder theory has been applied to, and adopted within accounting academic literature. The influence of stakeholder theory in accounting is growing but lags behind other business disciplines, partly because shareholder primacy is the dominant paradigm, even in relation to sustainability reporting. The findings indicate that the epistemological structure and socio-cultural characteristics of accounting are yet to converge, with education lagging behind contemporary thinking. Further advances in accounting, informed by a stakeholder theory approach, represents a strong opportunity for the discipline and as a route to mainstream stakeholder theory through changing the managerial mind-set.
Stakeholder theory is widely accepted but elementary aspects remain indeterminate. ‘Stakeholder’ is an essentially contested concept: variously describable, internally complex and open in character. Contestability is highly problematic for theory development and empirical testing. The solution does not lie in a universal definition, but in debating boundaries of stakeholder identification. The extent of contestability is demonstrated through a systematic review of 593 stakeholder definitions. This research is the first attempt at a comprehensive, multidimensional classification of stakeholder theory. Classification constructs juxtapose multi-contextual stakeholder theory applications providing an invaluable overview of stakeholder theory. The model is empirically tested with positive results.
Hundreds of stakeholder definitions exist. Whilst every concept is liable to be contested, this is problematic for theoretical and empirical analysis of stakeholder theory. This research explores whether this lack of consensus is conceptual confusion, which would benefit from further debate to reach a higher degree of elucidation, or whether the stakeholder concept is essentially contested, rendering the quest to seek a singular definition unfeasible.. The seven criteria Gallie (1956) prescribes for evaluating essentially contested concepts are applied to the stakeholder concept. The analysis suggests that ‘stakeholder’ is an essentially contested concept and this explains the degree of definitional variation.