Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance: A field study approach

Edgley, Carla ORCID:, Jones, Michael J. and Atkins, Jill 2015. The adoption of the materiality concept in social and environmental reporting assurance: A field study approach. British Accounting Review 47 (1) , pp. 1-18. 10.1016/

Full text not available from this repository.


This study investigates the logics or values that shape the social and environmental reporting (SER) and SER assurance (SERA) process. The influence of logics is observed through a study of the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the materiality concept by accounting and non-accounting assurors and their assurance statements. We gathered qualitative data from interviews with both accounting and non-accounting assurors. We analysed the interplay between old and new logics that are shaping materiality as a reporting concept in SER. SER is a rich field in which to study the dynamics of change because it is a voluntary, unregulated, qualitative reporting arena. It has a broad, stakeholder audience, where accounting and non-accounting organisations are in competition. There are three key findings. First, the introduction of a new, stakeholder logic has significantly changed the meaning and role of materiality. Second, a more versatile, performative, social understanding of materiality was portrayed by assurors, with a forward-looking rather than a historic focus. Third, competing logics have encouraged different beliefs about materiality, and practices, to develop. This influenced the way assurors theorised the concept and interpreted outcomes. A patchwork of localised understandings of materiality is developing. Policy implications both in SERA and also in financial audit are explored.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0890-8389
Date of Acceptance: 5 November 2014
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 10:08

Citation Data

Cited 85 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item