University of Oulu

Matias Laine, Janne T. Järvinen, Timo Hyvönen, Hannele Kantola, (2017) "Ambiguity of financial environmental information: A case study of a Finnish energy company", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 Issue: 3, pp.593-619,

Ambiguity of financial environmental information : a case study of a Finnish energy company

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Author: Laine, Matias1; Järvinen, Janne T.2; Hyvönen, Timo1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
2Department of Accounting, Oulu Business School, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-06-20


Purpose: Voluntary corporate social responsibility reporting has developed into an everyday activity for many commercial organizations, and scholarly interest in these practices continues to increase. This paper focusses on one subset of these disclosures, namely the figures relating to environmental expenditures and investments published by various organizations. The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the nature, role and significance of such financial environmental information. Despite their seeming accuracy and preciseness, little is known about how such financial environmental information is constructed and subsequently used in organizational settings.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a qualitative case study focussing on a Finnish energy company. The authors build the investigation primarily on 26 semi-structured interviews with employees at all organizational levels, which the authors supplement with various documentary sources. The interpretation draws on the notion of loose coupling, which the authors use as a method theory to provide a better understanding of this complex organizational practice.

Findings: The authors highlight the ambiguous and imprecise nature of the outwardly accurate figures provided by the company. The authors argue that disclosed financial environmental information is only loosely coupled with various dimensions, including the organization’s actual activities, its environmental impacts and organizational decision making

Originality/value: The findings contrast with those of some prior research, which has considered financial environmental information highly valuable. As for broader implications, the paper discusses the accuracy of public records based on such ambiguous organizational figures.

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Series: Accounting, auditing & accountability journal
ISSN: 1368-0668
ISSN-E: 1758-4205
ISSN-L: 1368-0668
Volume: 30
Issue: 3
Pages: 593 - 619
DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-02-2015-1961
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Funding: We wish to acknowledge financial support received for this study from the Academy of Finland (project 250478) and the Finnish Foundation for Economic Education.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 250478
Detailed Information: 250478 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: This article is © Emerald Publishing Limited and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Publishing Limited.