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Discursive construction of the sustainability and stakeholder concepts : a corpus-based analysis of the best practice integrated reports

Parlakkaya, M. E. (2022) Discursive construction of the sustainability and stakeholder concepts : a corpus-based analysis of the best practice integrated reports. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00109152


The present study investigates the discursive construction of the powerful, yet vague, concepts of sustainability and stakeholder (as compared to shareholder) in a sample of 105 best practice integrated reports, produced in the period from 2013 to 2018, in order to explore the dominant representations and prevalent understandings of these concepts in integrated reporting and in the wider corporate context. In this way, this research uncovers the collective corporate mentality on and the corporate attitude towards the natural environment and broader stakeholder groups, including society at large. Informed by the premises of critical discourse analysis, this study adopts the linguistic analytical categories of collocation and transitivity, and the data is analysed through corpus linguistics methods and tools. The findings recall the critical claims and concerns in the relevant literature. In brief, the concept of sustainability is constructed primarily as organisational continuation and growth within integrated reports. The stakeholder is prevalently represented as an inconsequential and inept identity to be managed, and symbolically involved (e.g., symbolic engagement, symbolic accountability). Additionally, stakeholder seems to be a conveniently made-up identity. In contrast, shareholders are represented as a capable, powerful and authoritative group, controlling the businesses, and holding the business organisations accountable. Shedding light upon the institutionalised (and contemporary) corporate mentality, regarding these significant concepts, is an important contribution to the existing body of knowledge in accounting literature, as it is this mentality that conditions the efficiency and effectiveness of integrated reporting as well as any other social and environmental accounting development. At the analytical level, this research is interdisciplinary in nature, applying (and introducing) novel (in accounting research) theoretical and methodological approaches, from linguistics and corpus linguistics fields. It also responds to research calls made to integrate linguistic insights into the body of accounting research focusing on discourse.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Stenka, R. and Rimmel, G.
Thesis/Report Department:Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:109152

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