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Title: A multi-level analysis of environmental accounting practices of companies in the Commonwealth Caribbean
Author: Dick-Forde, Emily Gaynor
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 8250
Awarding Body: University of Dundee
Current Institution: University of Dundee
Date of Award: 2000
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This dissertation investigates the attitudes and annual report disclosure practices of leading Caribbean companies to the global environmental agenda. In exploring this issue the dissertation contends that because the political economy of industrialised countries have tended to be implicitly assumed in SEA research, unique insights that might reside in the local/regional context may have been suppressed. The dissertation therefore seeks to make expticit the pecutiarities of the Caribbean region in this investigation. To this end the methodology of Prophetic Pragmatism developed by Cornel West (1989,1993) is employed for its emphasis on context and on multiple levels of investigations to inform the analysis of a social issue. Indeed West provides a metatheory that is appropriate for investigating matters related to social problems, like environmental issues, which are marginalised in almost all modern societies. The levels of investigation suggested by the methodology of Prophetic Pragmatism are the macrostructural and microinstitutional levels, with historical explanations emphasised in both levels. The analysis of the findings from these studies,using the insights from Prophetic Pragmatism, constitutes demystification of power structures and of the actions of powerful individuals that operate to hinder or encourage a focus on environmental matters in corporations. Additionally, the extent to which accounting is used in a corporation's environmental agenda is explored. The dissertation finds that several insights and indeed new stories about environmental accounting are accessed from this analysis. These stories include. (i) the existence, and extent of a public discourse on environment and corporate activities, national economic development initiatives in particular industries and, perhaps most importantly, the form and ownership structure of business enterprises in so-called polluting industries, are just some of the variables that circumscribe the observation of a significant industry, size and/or country effect on corporate environmental disclosures, (ii) more than just seeking to obfuscate negative environmental performance, a company may use environmental disclosures to support an ideal environmental self-image, (iii) the practices of "selfmasking" and "role-playing" by senior managers of an organisation might mediate between the statements they make about their corporation's environmental performance and the kind of leadership they provide for integrating sound environmental practices within the day-to-day operations of a company, (iv) accessing the views of senior managers alone cannot provide a credible story to explain observed environmental disclosures by a corporation. The different interpretations of senior managers versus junior managers contain a wealth of information for demystifying corporate environmental disclosures, and (v) the absence of accounting from a corporation's environmental agenda has more to do with organisation contingencies and dynamics (e. g. the status of accounting in the organisation) than with the "preconditioning" of accountants from accounting education. The employment of Prophetic Pragmatism is therefore argued to offer more than just an appropriate contextual methodology for exploring environmental accounting in a developing region; this dissertation argues that the methodology has helped to advance theoretical development in SEA by exposing the deeper causes of a lack of corporate environmental accountability as well as some reasons for the failure of corporations to make environmental matters a priority issue.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Association of Commonwealth Universities ; University of Dundee
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available