A futile exercise of transparency? The case of UK political party accounts
Presenter: Professor Teerooven Soobaroyen, Professor of Accounting University of Essex
Date: 1pm, 15th December, 2021
The implications of transparency initiatives are that audiences will be able to take heed of what is ‘really’ happening ‘behind the scenes’ and where relevant, clamour for action, and/or themselves bring change in behaviour and attitudes. In parallel, organisations and their leaders will ‘rise’ to the accountability challenge by making amends and improving their activities. However, what has been emerging is a very mixed, if not problematic, picture about the enactment of these transparency ideals (Meijer, 2013; Albu & Flyverbom, 2019; Ejiogu et al., 2019) - not only in terms of the technical challenges underpinning the form and content of the information, but also the processes, negotiations, complexities and (often) unintended outcomes related to the development and/or oversight of transparency initiatives. In this light, we seek to respond to calls to investigate the operation and consequences of transparency projects (Albu & Flyberbom, 2019).
We take an interest in the case of political parties. At first glance, political parties seem to be at the periphery of the organizational research landscape (one notable exception being Ringel, 2019) and can be seen to be relatively innocuous compared to the well-researched ‘public interest’ entities (e.g. listed companies, large charities or government departments). Yet they embody different political ideologies, leadership characters and routes to power for change in virtually every aspect of social life. The (in)visibility of political party financing and spending has been closely linked to reforms of electoral systems in most major democracies amidst concerns that party structures and leadership are severely compromised as a result of their dependence on private donors/interests during, or outside of, the electoral cycle; the UK being a well-documented example of such concerns across the political spectrum. Over the last 20 years, the issue of the transparency of a party’s financial transactions has been the subject of several government- and parliamentary-led reports and was identified to be a critical component of the electoral reforms. This paper focuses on one of the outcomes of the 2000 Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA), namely a legal mandate for political parties to submit an annual statement of accounts (SOA). A newly created regulator, the Electoral Commission (EC) became responsible for establishing the detailed requirements on the form and content of the SOA, for determining the appropriate accounting methods and principles and additional disclosures to be provided by the political parties to ensure public accountability, comparability and consistency across the political spectrum. The SOA regime purports to complement separate financial disclosure requirements (on donations, election expenditure and eventually loans) which political parties and candidates have to meet on a frequent basis and during times of electoral contests. Since then, there have been a number of criticisms of this regulatory regime, inclusive of concerns that the EC was not able to effectively regulate the parties on the basis of the information provided (CAC, 2006; Phillips, 2007; CSPL, 2011).
 Notably the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL, 1998; 2011), the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee (CAC, 2006) and a review by Hayden Phillips (Phillips, 2007).
Blessing or A Curse? The impact of Natural Resource Endowment on Extractive and Non-Extractive Foreign Direct Investment.
Presenter: Dr Mohamed Elheddad, Lecturer Huddersfield Business School, the University of Huddersfield
Date: 1pm, 10th November, 2021
An investigation of the impact of natural resource endowments on the inflows of extractives and non-extractive FDI inflows with a panel data set of 85 countries for the period 1984-2011. We analyse the question in the context of three different country groups based on their level of development. Our empirical analysis is based on using parallelly four different regression methods (Pooled OLS, FE, FE-IV, and GMM). We find support for the pollution haven hypothesis (PHH) in respect to extractive FDI flows, which are attracted by natural resources only in Low-Income countries. Also, we find a negative (crowding-out effect) impact of natural resources on non-extractive FDI in the same income group, which supports the hypothesis of the natural resource curse (NRC).
Institutional Investors and Carbon Emissions
Presenter: Dr Samsul Alam, Associate Professor (Research)
Date: 26th May, 2021
This paper investigates whether institutional investors promote abatement of carbon emissions. Using firm-level data on U.S. over the period 2007–2017, we find a negative, economically meaningful impact of institutional investors on carbon emissions. The result is more pronounced in firms that have more independent (investment companies, investment advisors, and pension funds), long-term, domestic and monitoring institutional ownership. This finding remains robust when we employ a quasi-natural experiment and the difference-in-differences approach to address potential endogeneity concerns. Our channel analysis documents that institutional investors help reduce carbon emissions through reducing energy consumption. Further test reveals that the benefit for institutional investors from reducing carbon emissions is higher firm value.
Exploration vs. Exploitation Disclosure and the Cost of Equity Capital: UK Evidence
Presenter: Dr Lane Matthews, Lecturer in Accounting, Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University Belfast
Date: 28th April, 2021
This paper examines the individual and combined effects of disclosing explorative and exploitative information on the cost of equity capital using a longitudinal unbalanced panel database of the UK’s FTSE 350 firms for the period 2011 – 2016. Evidence shows that firms disclose more exploration than exploitation when, in fact, the bulk of market rewards stem from exploitation rather than exploration disclosure. The subsampling approach shows that R&D firms are the only group to enjoy significant benefits from explorative disclosures. Interestingly, R&D firms show high synergic benefits from combining both disclosures. We also find that, for the full sample, the combined disclosure is negatively associated with the cost of equity capital; but such benefit is less pronounced in highly competitive industries. This paper provides novel empirical evidence to the disclosure literature by recognizing the information-type-dependent nature of exploration and exploitation disclosures with regards to effects on the cost of equity capital.
Research and Networking Event on Environmentalism, NGO Accountability & Governance
Presenters: Dr Ali Gerged, De Montfort University, Dr Habib Muhammad Shahib, Universitas Brawijaya, Indonesia, Dr Innocent Okwuosa, Caleb University, Nigeria, Dr Joseph Akande, University of Kwazulu-Natal South Africa, Dr A.A. Adeyemi, Olabisi Onabanjo University Nigeria, Ngozi Ojo & Dr Mafimisebi, De Montfort University
Date: 25th March, 2021
Environmentalism remains an increasing concern of NGOs arising from the strategic partnership they provide for their governmental counterparts. Environmental rights are broad in terms of philosophy, ideology and social movement such that cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations is fast becoming a necessity. The recent pandemic and its attendant consequences further reinforce the increasing realism that the natural environment and its continuous health must be protected and improved. The natural environment, which includes living things other than humans, deserves to be considered and should indeed shape the morality of political, economic and social policies. Consequently, the governance system in place in all organisations, governmental and NGOs, has a strong role to play in fostering effective accountability and sustainability in order to ensure the utmost protection of the environment in the conduct of business activities.
This one-day event will significantly draw insights from a recent publication of the Advances in EnvironmentalAccounting & Management series, volume 9 entitled “Environmentalism and NGO Accountability” co-edited by Kemi Yekini, Sina Yekini and Paschal Ohalehi. It will provide an opportunity for scholars and practitioners, with interest in environmentalism, to share thoughts on NGO’s roles in promoting environmental accountability and governance, particularly its implications for environmental policies and sustainability. There will also be an opportunity to discuss possible collaborations for future research projects and grant applications.
Corporatisation, Marketisation and the Management Agenda: The University as a Factory?
Presenter: Professor Irvine Lapsley, Professor Emeritus of Accounting, University of Edinburgh Business School
Date: 24th February, 2021
Terrorism Financing and the Fraud Dossier
Presenter: Professor Nicholas Ryder, Professor in Financial Crime at the University of the West of England, Bristol
Date: 10th February 2021
Summary: The paper presents evidence of an increasing number of incidents and highlights weaknesses in the UK's counter-terrorism financing regime. What threat is posed by terrorism financing? Has fraud become the funding avenue of choice?
African Sovereign Debt – The Debt Justice Network Approach
Presenter: Dr Ohio Omiunu, Associate Professor in Law, De Montfort University
Date: 27th January, 2021
Over the past decade, African sovereign debt levels had begun to rise to worrying levels. Concerns about the sustainability and management of these debts have now been exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic and its economic impact. This concern is related to the African Union's Agenda 2063 commitment to reduce unsustainable debt levels among other initiatives, to strengthen domestic resource mobilization. Given this worrying trend, there is a need for creative new approaches to sovereign debt management and restructuring in Africa.
In light of this, Afronomicslaw.org supported by the Open Society South Africa, initiated the African Sovereign Debt Justice Network to explore creative ways to amplify the African voice and decolonize narratives on African sovereign debt. The African Sovereign Debt Justice Network (AFSDJN) is a coalition of citizens, scholars, civil society actors and church groups committed to exposing the adverse impact of unsustainable levels of African sovereign debt on the lives of ordinary citizens. In this talk, I will discuss the rationale, mission and strategy of the African Sovereign Debt Justice Network to elicit feedback and comments on how to improve our aims and objectives.
Critical Academic Writing Workshop for PhD and Early Career Researchers
Presenter: Dr Eshani Beddewela from Huddersfield Business School, the University of Huddersfield
Date: 11th November, 2020
CSR Communication Research: A Theoretical cum-Methodological Perspective from Semiotics
Presenter: Professor Kemi Yekini, SOAS University London
Date: 23rd October, 2020
Despite the proliferation of studies on corporate social responsibility (CSR), there is a lack of consensus and a cardinal methodological base for research on the quality of CSR communication. Over the decades, studies in this space have remained conflicting, unintegrated, and sometimes overlapping. Drawing on semiotics—a linguistic-based theoretical and analytical tool, our article explores an alternative perspective to evaluating the quality and reliability of sustainability reports. Our article advances CSR communication research by introducing a theoretical-cum-methodological perspective which provides unique insights into how to evaluate the quality of CSR communication. Particularly, we illustrate the application of our proposed methodology on selected U.K. FTSE 100 companies. Our two-phased analysis employed the Greimas Canonical Narrative Schema and the Semiotic Square of Veridiction in drawing meanings from selected sustainability/CSR reports. In addition, we present a distinctive CSR report quality model capable of guiding policy makers and firms in designing sustainability/CSR reporting standards.