The institutionalization of social and environmental reporting: An Italian narrative

Publication date: Available online 11 February 2014 Source:Accounting, Organizations and Society

Author(s): Massimo Contrafatto

This paper focuses on social and environmental reporting (SER) and investigates, through prolonged fieldwork with an Italian multinational company, the dynamics through which SER, from its first introduction, has modified and developed to become institutionalized. The empirical data has been interpreted through the lens of institutional theories to provide a narrative of a three-step process which has brought about the institutionalization of SER, namely: (i) the construction of a common meaning system around the concept of social and environmental responsibility; (ii) practicalisation involving the emergence of rules and routines; and (iii) reinforcement through the implementation of intra-organizational managerial procedures and structures. The paper highlights that SER, as a result of a recursive and progressive process, has become an established and taken for granted actuality within the case study organization.