Reconsidering social reporting processes: an analysis of critical issues and opportunities

Author/s Paolo Rossi
Publishing Year 2011 Issue 2010/2
Language Italian Pages 24 P. 75-98 File size 703 KB
DOI 10.3280/SO2010-002004
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The article tackles the issue of the meaning attached by organizations and their stakeholders to social reporting practices. Though social accountability may be thought of as a mainstream and institutional phenomenon in many sectors, a variety of organizations and their stakeholders are acknowledging some growing difficulties in defining the possible and effective uses of social reports: these difficulties may be related to the complexity of sense-making and sense-giving dimensions of social accountability processes. A theoretical reflection is proposed for identifying the factors which lead to these difficulties, that implies a reconfiguration of social reporting practices. Six elements emerge as critical points of social reporting activities: their controversial ethical and idelogical background; the unclear definition of institutional and normative requirements; some excessive expectations about the potentialities of social report for the improvement of the relationships between organizations and stakeholders; the difficult sustainability of reporting processes (especially in the perspective of stakeholder engagement); the risks of auto-communication embodied in communicative processes of disclosure; the technical and methodological complexity of reporting processes as outlined by reporting guidelines. Some suggestions to overcome these difficulties and developing alternative configurations (in methodological and semantic terms) are then proposed.

Paolo Rossi, Quale senso per la rendicontazione sociale oggi? Un’analisi di criticità e prospettive in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 2/2010, pp 75-98, DOI: 10.3280/SO2010-002004