Slacik, J./Greiling, D.:
Compliance with materiality in G4-sustainability reports by electric utilities
Purpose – Materiality as an emerging trend aims to make sustainability reports (SR) more relevant for
stakeholders. This paper aims to investigate whether the reporting practice of electric utility companies (EUC)
is in compliance with the materiality principle of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) when disclosing SR.
Design/methodology/approach – A twofold content analysis focusing on material aspects (MAs) is
conducted, followed by correlation analysis. Logic and conversation theory (LCT) serves to evaluate the
communication quality of documented materiality in SR by EUC.
Findings – The coverage and quality of documented MAs in SR by EUC do not meet the requirements for
relevant and transparent communication. Materiality does not guide the reporting practice and is not taken
Research limitations/implications – Mediocre quality of coverage and communication in SR shows
that stakeholders’ information needs are not considered adequately. The content analysis is limited in
focusing on merely documented aspects rather than on actual performance.
Originality/value – This study considers the quality of communication of documented materiality
through the lens of LCT. It contributes to the academic debate by introducing LCT as a viable theoretical
perspective for analyzing SR. The paper evaluates GRI-G4 reporting practices in the electricity sector, which,
while under-researched is crucial for sustainability. It also contributes to the emerging body of empirical
research on the relevance of materiality as a guiding principle for sustainability reporting.
Keywords: Content analysis, Sustainability reporting, Materiality, Correlation analysis,
Global reporting initiative (GRI), Electric utilities, Logic and conversation theory
Slacik, J./Greiling, D.:
Coverage of G4-indicators in GRI-sustainability reports by electric utilities
Purpose – Electric utility companies (EUC) are expected to play a key role toward implementing ambitious
climate change aims being under critical scrutiny by regulators and stakeholders. However, EUC provide an
under-researched field regarding sustainability reporting with the focus on economic, social and ecological
concerns. This paper aims to gain insights of the sustainability reporting practice of EUC and the coverage of
indicators based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-Guidelines.
Design/methodology/approach – A twofold documentary analysis of 186 GRI-G4 sustainability reports by
EUC globally is conducted to investigate the coverage rates of G4-indicators. Neo-institutionalism and strategic
stakeholder theory serve as theoretical lenses. A regression analysis is used to examine ownership, stockexchange
listing, area of activity and region as potential drivers of sustainability reporting.
Findings – Results show that the coverage of indicators based on triple-bottom-line dimensions is moderate in
EUC leaving room for improvement. The coverage of sector-specific indicators lacks behind the coverage of
standard disclosure indicators. Results show that private and listed EUC show better coverage rates than
public and not-listed EUC.
Research limitations/implications – Neo-institutionalism shows limited homogenization in the sector.
Strategic stakeholder theory demonstrates insufficient stakeholder compliance of public and not-listed EUC.
Originality/value – This study contributes to sustainability reporting research by focusing on the underresearched
electricity sector. It provides practical reporting insights for EUC, the GRI and regulators.
Keywords: Sustainability reporting, Electric utilities, Global reporting initiative, Regression analysis, Neoinstitutionalism,
Strategic stakeholder theory
B. Grüb/S. Martin:
Public value of cultural heritages – towards a better understanding of citizen’s valuation of Austrian museums
Purpose: In times of scarce public funding, organisations that receive public funds face increasing pressure to legitimise themselves. Thus, museums must also legitimise themselves to receive public funds. They have to demonstrate that they provide a valuable contribution to society. Is the preservation of cultural goods a sufficient benefit for society or are museums valuable to citizens in any other way? To evaluate whether citizens see a benefit in museums and value museums, the concept of stakeholder-oriented public value is applied to museums. In contrast to former public sector reform models (like New Public Management), which have focused less on society and viewed citizens more as consumers and passive recipients of services, the public value concept adopts a citizen perspective in the sense of community governance.
Design/methodology/approach: In order to analyse the interests of the citizens as main stakeholders of the services of the public sector, we conducted an explorative study in Austria. We developed a questionnaire to retrieve the interests of the citizens, obtaining 281 data sets for analysis. The study assessed the value that museums have for citizens as part of society.
Findings: The findings show that, for the most part, citizens confirm that museums are valuable to them for several perspectives, namely the individual, societal and economic perspective.
Originality/value: Previous research has mainly regarded the different types of values – individual, societal and economic – as separate categories. Our findings highlight that these specific values
are interrelated. Our findings can inform policy recommendations.
Keywords: Austria; citizens; culture; museums; public value; stakeholder-oriented value
A. Traxler/D.Schrack/D. Greiling: Sustainability reporting and management control – A systematic exploratory literature review
While there is extensive knowledge on management control systems (MCS) and a large body of literature focusing on sustainability reporting (SR), studies investigating the interplay of SR and MCS are still at an early stage, although a broad consensus exists that for a good progress towards corporate sustainability interlinking of reporting and control is needed. What is more, organizations which are just having a sustainability report in place, but do not implement proper control mechanisms towards sustainability, run the risk that their efforts are perceived as a well-meaning reputation-building attempt at the best. Against this background, the aim of this paper is to identify and cluster relevant literature on the interplay between SR and MCS. To achieve this goal, a systematic literature review considering publications between the years 2000 and 2018 has been performed. For clustering the findings, the popular MCS package of Malmi and Brown (2008) was used. The systematic literature review is based on 53 publications that examined the linkage of SR and MCS. The papers revealed various connections in both directions – the effect of MCS on SR and the use of SR within MCS – that can be assigned to the different management control elements of the MCS package of Malmi and Brown (2008). Furthermore, the findings suggest that there is a reciprocal linkage between SR and MCS and that the existing body of literature does not go beyond an instrumental and therefore functionalistic perspective. Additionally, the literature is lacking on empirical, theory guided and critical analyses.
Keywords: Management control systems, Sustainability reporting, Literature review
Martin, S./Grüb-Martin, B.: Intensive WOM-behavior in the healthcare sector – the case of an Austrian hospital’s Facebook site
Patients frequently use Facebook for health-related reasons, like seeking of information or the recommendation of practitioners or hospitals. In this way, Facebook provides a powerful communication platform for electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). Hospitals increasingly use Facebook to positively influence the perception of their brand reputation and performance. The present explorative study provides detailed information regarding eWOM behavior of persons on the Facebook page of an Upper Austrian hospital. Data of the hospital’s Facebook page was gathered and analyzed with NodeXL. By using a text analysis, we categorized the hospitals’ posts. Reactions towards the different types of postings were analyzed by counting emojis, the number of shares and comments. Within the study, there was an in-depth evaluation of communication data (313 posts of the hospital, more than 14,000 eWom actions by 3327 women, men and organizations). The study shows how heterogeneous users are in their eWOM behavior and that a variety of topics on the Facebook page stimulates electronic recommendations. One major finding of the study is that a significant part of
the eWOM is done by only a few users. According to this, a so-called Intensive WOM Behavior (IWB) can be identified. Users of the IWB-group behave heterogeneously. Most react either with an emoji, a comment or a share. Only a few IWB-users respond with a combination of these eWOM-reactions. By providing first insights into the existence of IWB-users as well as their eWOM-behavior, this study offers new insights to eWOM in Facebook.
Keywords: Word-of-mouth, eWOM, recommendation, Healthcare, Hospital, Social media, Facebook
Frei J., Lubinger M., Greiling D.: Assessing Universities’ Global Reporting Initiative G4 Sustainability Reports in Concurrence with Stakeholder Inclusiveness
Abstract: The book chapter provides an empirical insight about stakeholder engagement (SE)-processes of universities’ Sustainability Reports (SRs) and analyses to what extent universities comply with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4-Guidelines for evaluating whether the information disclosure in the SRs is a comprehensive or superficial one.
After introducing strategic stakeholder theory and neo-institutionalism for identifying arguments for and against a comprehensive stakeholder accountability in universities’ SRs, the results of a systematic literature review on the state of the art of sustainability reporting practices in the university sector and on SE-processes in the context of sustainability reporting are presented.
The empirical findings are based on the 33 recent G4-SRs worldwide uploaded in the GRI database. The results of our study show that universities clearly document who are their main stakeholders. They also document quite clearly which are their main communication topics of their SE. The importance of these main communication topics is not mirrored in the GRI coverage rates.
Therefore, the findings can be interpreted as a clear sign that SRs of universities are far away from a comprehensive stakeholder accountability. Theory-wise, the reporting behavior is more in line with the expectations of neo-institutionalism than strategic stakeholder theory.