Managing social and environmental accountability: An impression management perspective

Conference proceedings article

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Author list: Martins A, Gomes D
Publication year: 2020
Start page: 281
End page: 288
Number of pages: 8
ISBN: 978-1-912764-47-1
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Purpose – Corporate social behavior has become an important feature of business society. Organizations face the challenge to meet stakeholders’ expectations, but also to report information on social and environmental issues. Drawing on accounting literature this study proposes a conceptual framework linking organizational impression management and social accountability. Theoretical framework – This study is supported by literature on organizational legitimacy, impression management, and corporate social reporting to propose a theoretical framework to help understanding how organizations manage corporate social accountability in a context of institutional complexity. Design/methodology/approach –This theoretical essay is drawn on recent accounting literature. Findings – Corporate social reporting seems more reflective of impression management rather than of the release of functional accountability. Such practices appear to be motived by the quest of social legitimacy and the improvement of organizational image and the desire to obfuscate a negative performance. Research, Practical & Social implications – These findings are of societal and ethical concern as impression management behavior may undermine the transparency of social and environmental reporting. Originality/value – The conceptual framework proposed is useful for future studies aiming at understanding how organizations use impression management on their corporate social reporting in the accountability process. In this vein, we bridge the gap between organizational legitimacy, impression management, and social accountability.


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Last updated on 2020-04-05 at 18:43