The Connectivity of Information in Integrated Reporting. Empirical Evidence from International Context

Author/s Alberto Incollingo, Michela Bianchi
Publishing Year 2017 Issue 2016/2
Language English Pages 24 P. 55-78 File size 303 KB
DOI 10.3280/FR2016-002003
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

In recent years, an increasing number of accounting scholars have been investigating the concept and the purpose of integrated reporting. After the issue of IIRC Framework, which is principle-based, it is now recognized that there is an urgent need for empirical analysis of the content of the reports at their first development stage. This in order to understand if the aims of this new reporting approach are realistic and achievable in practice. This paper responds to such call and it tries to contribute in two ways. Firstly, it illustrates the way in which the Guiding Principle of Connectivity of Information is applied at international level. In particular, we analyzed the compliance of disclosure practices in integrated reports of 2013 with the key forms of Connectivity of information presented in the Framework. Secondly, the paper tries to interpret the practices observed, in order to identify useful implementation criteria of this Guiding Principle. This is light of the fact that the Guiding Principle was noted as the most important to obtain a truly integrated report, but, at the same time, difficult to interpret and problematic to apply. The results of the analysis indicate an application of the principle extremely heterogeneous (and in such cases disappointing), confirming the need to establish practical guidelines to apply it. By this study, we made a preliminary attempt to identify some characteristic attributes of Connectivity of information within integrated reporting. The findings carry implications for eventual refinement of the IIRC Framework and, especially, to support companies wishing to prepare an integrated report.

Keywords: Integrated reporting, non-financial information, connectivity of information, IIRC Framework

  1. Abeysekera I. (2013), A template for integrated reporting, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 14(2), pp. 227-245, DOI: 10.1108/14691931311323869
  2. Adams C.A. (2013), Understanding Integrated Reporting: The Concise Guide to Integrated Thinking and the Future of Corporate Reporting. (DoShorts).
  3. Adams C.A. (2014), The International Integrated Reporting Council: A call to action, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27, pp. 23-28,
  4. Beattie V.A., McInnes B., Fearnley S. (2004), A methodology for analyzing and evaluating narratives in annual reports: a comprehensive descriptive profile and metrics for disclosure quality attributes, Accounting Forum, 28(3), pp. 205-236,
  5. Berelson B. (1952), Content Analysis in Communication Research. (New York: Free Press).
  6. Brown J., Dillard J. (2014), Integrated reporting: On the need for broadening out and opening up, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1120-1156, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1313
  7. Busco C., Frigo M.L., Riccaboni A., Quattrone P. (2013), Integrated Reporting. Concepts and Cases that Redefine Corporate Accountability. (Switzerland: Springer International Publishing).
  8. Cheng M., Green W., Conradie P., Konishi N., Romi A. (2014), The International Integrated Reporting Framework: Key Issues and Future Research Opportunities, Journal of International Financial Management & Accounting, 25(1), pp. 90-119,
  9. Chersan I.C. (2015), Study on Practices and Tendencies in Integrated Reporting, Audit Financiar, 13(129), pp. 91-101.
  10. Churet C., Eccles R.G. (2014), Integrated Reporting, Quality of Management and Financial Performance, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 26(1), pp. 56-64,
  11. Cooke T.E. (1989), Voluntary Corporate Disclosure by Swedish Companies, Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting, 1(2), pp. 171-195,
  12. D’Este C., Fellegara A., Galli G. (2013), Livelli di disclosure economico finanziaria e scelte di integrated reporting nei gruppi a connotazione territoriale, paper presented at AIDEA Bicentenary Conference, Lecce, September 19-21, 2013.
  13. De Villiers C., Rinaldi L., Unerman J. (2014), Integrated Reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1042-1067, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-06-2014-1736
  14. Eccles R.G., Krzus M.P. (2010), One report – Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons).
  15. Eccles R.G., Beiting C., Saltzam D. (2010), The Landscape of Integrated Reporting. Reflections and next steps. (Boston: Harvard Business School).
  16. Eccles R.G., Saltzam D. (2011), Achieving Sustainability Through Integrated Reporting, Stanford Social Innovation Review, pp. 56-61.
  17. Eccles R.G., Krzus M.P., Watson L.A. (2012), Integrated reporting requires Integrated Assurance, in J. Oringel (ed.), Effective Auditing for Corporates: Key Developments in Practice and Procedures. (London: Bloomsbury Information).
  18. Eccles R.G., Krzus M.P. (2014), Integrated Reporting Movement: Meaning, Momentum, Motives and Materiality. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons).
  19. Eccles R.G., Krzus M.P., Ribot S. (2015), Models of Best Practice in Integrated Reporting 2015, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 27(2), pp. 103-115,
  20. Flower J., The International Integrated Reporting Council: A story of failure, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, available at
  21. Frias-Aceituno J.V., Rodriguez-Ariza L., Garcia-Sanchez I.M. (2013a), Is integrated reporting determined by a country’s legal system? An exploratory study, Journal of Cleaner Production, 44, pp. 45-55,
  22. Frias-Aceituno J.V., Rodriguez- Ariza L., Garcia-Sanchez I.M. (2013b), The role of the board in the dissemination of integrated corporate social reporting, Corporate social responsibility and environmental management, 20(4), pp. 219-233,
  23. Frias-Aceituno J.V., Rodriguez-Ariza L., Garcia-Sanchez I.M. (2014), Explanatory Factors of Integrated Sustainability and Financial Reporting, Business Strategy and the Environment, 23(1), pp. 56-72,
  24. Garcia-Sanchez I.M., Rodriguez-Ariza L., Frias-Aceituno J.V. (2013), The cultural system and integrated reporting, International Business Review, 22(5), pp. 828-838,
  25. Haller A., van Staden C. (2014), The Value Added Statement. An Appropriate Instrument for Integrated Reporting, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1190-1216, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1307
  26. Haniffa R.M., Cooke T.E. (2002), Culture, Corporate Governance and Disclosure in Malaysian Corporations, ABACUS, 38(3), DOI: 10.1111/1467-6251.00112
  27. Hassan O., Marston C.L. (2010), Disclosure Measurement in the empirical accounting literature – a review article,
  28. Higgins C., Stubbs W., Love T. (2014), Walking the talk(s): Organisational narratives of integrated reporting, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1090-1119, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1303
  29. Holsti O.R. (1969), Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities. (Boston: Reading, Addison-Wesley).
  30. ICAEW (2013), Comment letter on the IIRC’s Consultation Draft of the Integrated Reporting Framework.
  31. IIA (2011), Comment letter on the IIRC’s Discussion Paper – Towards Integrated Reporting – Communicating Value in the 21st Century, 14 December 2011.
  32. IIRC (2013), The International <IR> Framework, available at
  33. Incollingo A. (2014), Le prime esperienze di bilancio integrato. Analisi e riflessioni. (Torino: Giappichelli).
  34. Jensen J.C., Berg N. (2012), Determinants of Traditional Sustainability Reporting Versus Integrated reporting. An Institutionalist Approach, Business Strategy and the Environment, 21(5), pp. 299-316,
  35. King M., Roberts L. (2013), Integrate. Doing Business in the 21st Century. (Juta).
  36. Krippendorff K. (2013), Content Analysis. An Introduction to Its Methodology (SAGE, Third Edition).
  37. Lai A., Melloni G., Stacchezzini R. (2013), Disclosing Business Model in the “Integrated Report”: Evidence from European Early Adopters, paper presented at AIDEA Bicentenary Conference, Lecce, September 19-21, 2013.
  38. Marston C.L., Shrives P.J. (1991), The use of disclosure indices in accounting research: a review article, British Accounting Review, 23, pp. 195-210, DOI: 10.1016/0890(91)90080-L
  39. Mio C., Fasan M., The determinants of materiality disclosure in integrated corporate reporting, Working Paper n. 9/2014, Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia.
  40. Owen G. (2013), Integrated Reporting: A review of Developments and their Implications for the Accounting Curriculum, Accounting Education: an International Journal, 22(4), pp. 340-356, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2013.817798
  41. Paternostro S. (2012), L’Accountability nell’azienda integrale. Prime riflessioni sulla valenza informativa del bilancio integrato. (Roma: Aracne, Quaderni di Ricerca economico-aziendale).
  42. Paternostro S. (2013), The Connectivity of Information for the Integrated Reporting, in C. Busco et al., Integrated Reporting. Concepts and Cases that Redefine Corporate Accountability. (Switzerland: Springer International Publishing).
  43. Robbins W.A., Austin K.R. (1986), Disclosure Quality in Governmental Financial Reports: An Assessment of a Compound Measure, Journal of Accounting Research, 24(2), pp. 412-421.
  44. Ruiz-Lozano M., Tirado-Valencia P. (2016), Do industrial companies respond to the guiding principles of the Integrated Reporting framework? A preliminary study on the first companies joined to the initiative, Revista de Contabilidad – Spanish Accounting Review, available at
  45. Sierra-García L., Zorio-Grima A., García-Benau M.A. (2015), Stakeholder Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility and Integrated Reporting: An Exploratory Study, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22, pp. 286-304,
  46. Soh D., Leung P., Leong S. (2015), The Development of Integrated Reporting and the Role of the Accounting and Auditing Profession, Social Audit Regulation. Springer International Publishing, pp. 33-57.
  47. Stubbs W., Higgins C. (2014), Integrated Reporting and internal mechanism of change, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1068-1089.
  48. Thomson I., ‘But does sustainability need capitalism or a integrated report’. A commentary, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, available at
  49. Van Bommel K. (2014), Towards a legitimate compromise?: An exploration of Integrated Reporting in the Netherlands, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1157-1189, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1309
  50. WICI (2013), Connectivity. Background paper for <IR>, available at
  51. Wild S., van Staden C. (2013), Integrated Reporting: Initial analysis of early reporters – an Istitutional Theory approach, Paper presented at al 7th Asia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference, July 2013.

  • The effect of national cultural differences of board members on integrated reporting Simona Alfiero, Massimo Cane, Ruggiero Doronzo, Alfredo Esposito, in Corporate Board role duties and composition /2018 pp.7
    DOI: 10.22495/cbv14i1art1
  • Improving business model disclosure in the annual report: Insights from an interventionist research project Carlo Bagnoli, Antonio Costantini, Maurizio Massaro, in FINANCIAL REPORTING 2/2021 pp.81
    DOI: 10.3280/FR2021-002003
  • Board configuration and IR adoption. Empirical evidence from European companies Simona Alfiero, Massimo Cane, Ruggiero Doronzo, Alfredo Esposito, in Corporate Ownership and Control /2017 pp.444
    DOI: 10.22495/cocv15i1c2p13
  • Integrated reporting in action: mobilizing intellectual capital to improve management and governance practices Francesco Badia, Grazia Dicuonzo, Saverio Petruzzelli, Vittorio Dell’Atti, in Journal of Management and Governance /2019 pp.299
    DOI: 10.1007/s10997-018-9420-1
  • The first impact of EU regulation on non-financial disclosure: An exploratory analysis in the oil & gas sector Cristian Carini, Laura Rocca, Monica Veneziani, Claudio Teodori, in Corporate Ownership and Control /2019 pp.24
    DOI: 10.22495/cocv17i1art3
  • Beyond Financial Reporting. Integrated Reporting and its determinants: Evidence from the context of European state-owned enterprises Giuseppe Nicolò, Gianluca Zanellato, Francesca Manes-Rossi, Adriana Tiron-Tudor, in FINANCIAL REPORTING 2/2019 pp.43
    DOI: 10.3280/FR2019-002003
  • Integrated Reporting Framework Application: A European Case Study in the Financial Sector Adriana Tiron-Tudor, Octavian Jula, Diana Lavinia Martin, Gianluca Zanellato, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Business Excellence /2019 pp.227
    DOI: 10.2478/picbe-2019-0021
  • The journey toward the integrated reporting of Italian airport operators: Empirical evidence Antonio Thomas, Giuseppe Scandurra, in Business Strategy and the Environment /2023 pp.2896
    DOI: 10.1002/bse.3277

Alberto Incollingo, Michela Bianchi, The Connectivity of Information in Integrated Reporting. Empirical Evidence from International Context in "FINANCIAL REPORTING" 2/2016, pp 55-78, DOI: 10.3280/FR2016-002003