Integrated Reporting and Integrating Thinking: Practical Challenges

La Torre, M.; Bernardi, C.; Guthrie, J. and Dumay, J. (2019). Integrated Reporting and Integrating Thinking: Practical Challenges. In: Arvidsson, S. ed. Challenges in Managing Sustainable Business. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.



Integrated reporting (<IR>) is currently a hot topic for academic research because of the practical challenges businesses encounter when implementing it. Motivated by the results from the IIRC’s call for feedback on the International <IR> Framework (<IRF>) implementation, this chapter focuses on the challenges of integrated thinking and examines the extant academic literature to offer contributions for future research based on <IR> practice. We find that integrated thinking suffers from significant conceptual, theoretical and practical challenges, which obstruct the claimed benefits deriving from the adoption of <IR>. Therefore, this chapter contributes to rethinking the paradigm of integrated thinking as an internal managerial practice, and calls for pragmatic research investigating <IR> internal practices and integrated thinking. Within third-stage <IR> research, that provides a critical and performative assessment of <IR> in action, we advocate that researchers need to shift the focus from reporting to internal practices. Accordingly, we claim that managers need to abandon the compliance-driven logic underpinning external reporting to foster integrated thinking and unlock its potential in practice.

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