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Forward-looking information in Integrated Reporting: The influence of suppliers and customers

WANG, LE (2023) Forward-looking information in Integrated Reporting: The influence of suppliers and customers. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 09 January 2026.


This thesis examines the influence of suppliers and customers on forward-looking information disclosure and the credibility of this disclosure practice under the Integrated Reporting (IR) context.
According to stakeholder theory and legitimacy theory, suppliers and customers hold critical resources for an organisation’s survival and growth; thus, organisations would consider suppliers’ and customers’ interests when making reporting decisions. Further, concerning signalling theory, organisations have incentives to signal both credible and misleading information. These theories underpin this study’s investigation throughout.
This thesis applies a multi-method approach which combines the method of content analysis and interview. To fulfil the research aims, this thesis utilises content analysis to examine a dataset of organisational reports published by 96 organisations from 5 countries. In addition, this thesis conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with personnel from organisations and stakeholders from supply chain consulting firms, accounting bodies, and standards-setting organisations.
The findings reveal that organisations incorporate suppliers’ and customers’ interests into forward-looking information disclosure to discharge accountability, address legitimacy exposures, and secure resources for survival. However, the extent to which organisations address suppliers’ and customers’ information demands is related to the management’s awareness of supplier and customer inclusiveness, regulations, and reporting framework. Furthermore, suppliers and customers influence an organisation’s business and strategy developments, and these developments are reflected in the forward-looking information disclosure. To enhance the credibility of forward-looking information concerning suppliers and customers, organisations have implemented multiple mechanisms (e.g. data measurement and data monitoring) throughout the reporting process. However, this disclosure practice lacks completeness and rigorous materiality determination processes. Finally, IR has an impact on the adoption of the approach to including suppliers and customers when making forward-looking information disclosure and the credibility of this disclosure practice.
This thesis brings together three streams of research on forward-looking information disclosure (motivations, inclusivity, and credibility) in a single study. The findings of this thesis confirm the importance of developing a supplier and customer inclusive approach to reporting. Yet, this reporting approach has not been fully adopted, and relevant reports are not credible enough for stakeholders to rely on, although IR plays some role in enhancing this reporting practice. This thesis argues that the current practice of disclosing forward-looking information concerning suppliers and customers is at risk of being a “box-ticking” activity, rather than being thoroughly understood and implemented as a reform of reporting approaches. From the investigation of both organisations’ and stakeholders’ perspectives on this disclosure practice, this thesis offers management, standard-setters, and academics novel insights into the role of suppliers and customers in corporate reporting which has received little academic attention.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Accounting, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Jan 2023 08:43

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