University of Oulu

T. Järvinen, J., Laine, M., Hyvönen, T. et al. Just Look at the Numbers: A Case Study on Quantification in Corporate Environmental Disclosures. J Bus Ethics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04600-7

Just look at the numbers : a case study on quantification in corporate environmental disclosures

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Author: Järvinen, Janne T.1; Laine, Matias2; Hyvönen, Timo2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Economics, Accounting & Finance, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe202102013398
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-01
Description:

Abstract

This paper sheds further light on the role of quantification in corporate environmental disclosures. Quantification is an inherently social practice, which has attracted a fair amount of academic interest in recent years. At the same time, in the field of social and environmental accounting there is a paucity of research on quantification or the role it plays for organisations, for organisational communication and in societies more broadly. Accordingly, in this paper, we will draw on a qualitative case study to discuss the potential implications that might arise from the use of quantified information in corporate environmental disclosures. Our case study illustrates the diverse effects of quantification suggested in the prior literature by placing them in the context of corporate environmental disclosures. We discuss how quantification implies fake precisionism and promotes commensuration of incomparables, thereby limiting the discussion to themes and questions preferred by company management. We maintain that quantification, while appearing to produce neutral and value-free information, has a substantive ethical dimension through how it implicates accountability relationships as well as the respective power relations between diverse stakeholders in societies.

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Series: Journal of business ethics
ISSN: 0167-4544
ISSN-E: 1573-0697
ISSN-L: 0167-4544
Issue: Epub ahead of print
Pages: 1 - 22
DOI: 10.1007/s10551-020-04600-7
OADOI: https://oadoi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04600-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Subjects:
Funding: We wish to acknowledge financial support received for this study from the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Foundation for Economic Education.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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