Integrated reporting: Much ado about nothing?
Brigitte de Graaff, Bert Steens, Kees Camfferman / Financial Reporting / 2-2021
Integrated reporting, which helps companies to share their value creation processes with their stakeholders, has developed rapidly in recent years. Due to the increased attention paid to the International Integrated Reporting Framework is-sued by the International Integrated Reporting Council, the number of companies worldwide engaging in integrated reporting is continually rising, which is presumably driven by the claimed benefits of this practice. Through recourse to legitimacy theory and management fashion theory, here we provide a preliminary assessment of the development of integrated reporting, alongside considering the potential influence of academic research in its growth. We review the existing body of academic literature on this topic, ultimately identifying 123 claims about the benefits of IR from 29 papers published in 15 journals between May 2011 and September 2016, before proceeding to analyse both the sources and the level of substantiation of these claims. Our findings suggest that only a few of the purported ad-vantages of integrated reporting are supported by actual empirical evidence, while most of the claims only cite a limited number of primary sources. Based on these results and our assessment of the development of the concept of IR, we propose a future research agenda.