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On managing hypocrisy: the transparency of sustainability reports
journal contributionposted on 2020-06-01, 00:00 authored by Colin HigginsColin Higgins, S Tang, W Stubbs
Hypocrisy creates significant challenges for managers and stakeholders. Knowledge of its nature and causes is extensive; however, understandings of its implications for management practice are limited. This study draws on the transparency literature, notably Schnackenberg and Tomlinson's (2016) disclosure, clarity and accuracy framework, to show that the way in which information is presented affects the way hypocrisy manifests and how it can be addressed. We analysed the sustainability reports of three financial services companies in Australia over a five-year period and found that in addition to minimising duplicity, transparency can increase engagement with the competing expectations facing companies. Despite its limitations, sustainability reporting offers insights in to the nature, causes and implications of organisational hypocrisy.