No. 56: Preparers’ construction of users’ information needs in corporate reporting: A case study

Abstract

This paper studies how preparers assess users’ information needs and preferences, and how these constructions relate to preparers’ reporting decisions. Drawing on interviews as well as other internal and external data, our qualitative case study focuses on a prominent annual report restructuring at the large industrial firm Siemens. Employing the theoretical framework of institutional logics allows us to trace how Siemens’ changing context influenced the ways in which actors dynamically reconsidered the meaning and purpose of the annual report. We document how the previously coexisting compliance and stakeholder logics gave way to a dominant capital market logic, which required Siemens actors – similar to standard setters – to construct the notion of ‘usefulness’ for capital providers. Constructing users as vulnerable to disclosure overload and interested in the annual report only as a confirmatory tool, Siemens transformed the annual report into a concise compliance document. We conclude that changes in corporate reporting reflect dynamic ambshifts and reinterpretations of institutional logics shaped by firm-specific contextual factors.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, ESMT Berlin and Goethe University Frankfurt who share the same research agenda.