Can the world cope with
square bottles?
Jollands & Akroyd
CSEAR
September 2010
Can the world cope with square bottles?
Aim of paper:
Examine current state of SEA literature.
Critiques:
Less than cohere...
Extant SEA Literature Practice
Logic of theory Logic of theory
Logic of representation Logic of representation
? Logic of ...
1 - Legitimacy
SEA Literature: heavily focused on achievement
through reporting
However Ball (2007, p760) notes that
accou...
2 - Political Cost
SEA Literature: Minimise reported earning to avoid
potential political costs.
Extended by (among others...
3 - Altruism
Defined as: “selfless concern for the wellbeing of
others.”(Concise Oxford Dictionary, 2001, p40)
SEA Literat...
4 - Economic
SEA Literature: Economic performance can be
enhanced through sustainability focus.
Among others hidden costs ...
Conclusion
Our results illuminate a complex reality where elements
of the four areas of conceptual knowledge utilised in
t...
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Jollands & akroyd bottles csear slides v1

  1. 1. Can the world cope with square bottles? Jollands & Akroyd CSEAR September 2010
  2. 2. Can the world cope with square bottles? Aim of paper: Examine current state of SEA literature. Critiques: Less than coherent body of knowledge (Gray et al, 1995, Parker, 2005) Focused mainly on reporting (Owen, 2008) Little engagement with organisations (Adams & Larrinaga-Gonzalez, 2007) Czariawska (2001) knowledge can be gained from: • Logic of theory; • Logic of representation; and • Logic of practice.
  3. 3. Extant SEA Literature Practice Logic of theory Logic of theory Logic of representation Logic of representation ? Logic of practice To highlight this issue we briefly examine part of the extant SEA literature by way of a critical case (Flyvbjerg, 2001) utilising practice theory (Actor- network theory) to gather data. Areas briefly reviewed: 1.Legitimacy 2.Political Cost 3.Altruism 4.Economic
  4. 4. 1 - Legitimacy SEA Literature: heavily focused on achievement through reporting However Ball (2007, p760) notes that accountants had no role in environmental accounting and reporting activities in her case study. Critical Case: Realm of corporate affairs / public relations - But “in reality that’s always going to be a, you know, a fly in the ass of the elephant” [Managing Director] Seen as “hygiene factor” See elements of all four of Lindblom’s (1993) strategies at case Suggests benefits from widening research focus beyond reporting to all practices used to achieve legitimacy.
  5. 5. 2 - Political Cost SEA Literature: Minimise reported earning to avoid potential political costs. Extended by (among others) Lemon & Cahan (1997) who link environmental disclosure decisions to political visibility Critical Case: Use of reporting (financial + sustainability) too imprecise a device to rely on More effective practices used include direct lobbying & self regulation Supports Milne (2002) and calls into question original political cost hypothesis.
  6. 6. 3 - Altruism Defined as: “selfless concern for the wellbeing of others.”(Concise Oxford Dictionary, 2001, p40) SEA Literature: Ball (2007) looks at environmental accounting (reporting) as a tool used from a social movements in organisations perspectives Critical Case: See in practices of Project Manager Operations but efforts ended with taking of job advancement opportunity – sustainability of self takes precedence Procurement / Logistics Manager acts out of liking being part of “left field” thinking team Latour (1986): many different reasons for why people act. Is altruism possible? Can other motivations be exploited?
  7. 7. 4 - Economic SEA Literature: Economic performance can be enhanced through sustainability focus. Among others hidden costs (Bartolomeo et al, 2000) & “good” environmental performance gives “good” economic performance (Al-Tuwaijri et al, 2004) Critical Case: Examples include practice of waste minimisation resulted in cost savings as less bins collected + dry waste recycling company charges less to collect them But economic always takes precedence: procurement guidelines = while sustainability is a consideration must still meet economic requirement Suggests that in practice until black boxed that economy is subset of society which is in turn subset of the ecology will strong progress be realised
  8. 8. Conclusion Our results illuminate a complex reality where elements of the four areas of conceptual knowledge utilised in the social and environmental accounting literature are observed in practice but not as entirely conceptualised in the extant literature.

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