Wait-and-see-ism as partial adoption of management practices: The rise and stall of integrated reporting
SourceStrategic Organization, (2022)
24 januari 2022
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectInstitute for Management Research
Integrated reporting (IR) has widely been promoted as the next evolutionary step in corporate disclosure which would soon replace traditional reporting practices. Embedded in a zeitgeist that favors sustainability, this outlook would suggest high IR adoption rates among reporting organizations. Our analysis of IR in Germany from 2008 to 2019 shows, however, that organizations approached IR with a wait-and-see mentality. This approach cannot be described adequately by the existing conceptualizations of (partial) practice adoption. We therefore develop the notion of wait-and-see-ism, defined as the deliberate and potentially long-lasting postponement of a decision to adopt a practice while its further development is monitored silently. We see limited, though continuous, efforts to prepare for the prospect of adopting the practice of IR quickly at a later stage. Wait-and-see-ism expands on prior work on partial adoption by emphasizing its temporal dimension. This adds an important yet undertheorized option that organizations can employ to respond to ambiguous institutional demands, thus explaining the stalling of promising management practices.
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