PAVIA Research Workshop

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Performance management and Reporting

Pavia, 13th November 2019

The University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management, will host the Pavia Research Workshop "Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability: Performance management and Reporting" on the 13th of November 2019.


The need for corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices is not new in the management field. In addition, the call for more sustainable action was boosted also by the definition of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 2030 UN Agenda, which have helped to pay more and more attention to the concept of sustainable development in the long term (Bebbington and Unermann, 2018; SDG, 2016). Businesses are responding to this call by promoting ethical, social and environmental practices (Abhayawansa and Guthrie, 2016; Druz et al., 2017; Hummel et al., 2017, Merchant and White, 2017).

However, we still have limited knowledge of the role of performance management in implementing social and sustainable practices within organizational activities (Arjaliès and Mundy, 2013). More specifically, little is known about how performance management and control practices can support vs. inhibit the decision-making (Norris and O'Dwyer, 2004), leadership (Morsing and Oswald, 2009), implementation and execution of CSR strategies (Durden, 2008; Riccaboni and Leone, 2010).

Furthermore, companies are more and more involved in the preparation of non-financial reports in order to highlight their CSR performance (Dhaliwal et al., 2011). In particular, the EU Directive 2014/95 / EU for non-financial disclosure requires about 6,000 large European companies with specifics features (including, for example, having more than 500 employees, being listed on European markets or operating in the banking or insurance sector) to draw up non-financial statements. Although the directive is intended for certain types of companies, or groups of companies, this topic has become of particular interest also for other firms, such as, for example, small and medium-sized enterprises (Haslam, 2019), or organizations working in the public sector (Montecalvo et al., 2018). This has favored the spread of culture linked to the concept of sustainability in the company, and, indirectly, it has granted the companies involved in these activities to obtain particular advantages including image enhancement (Cho et al., 2015), corporate reputation (Bebbington et al., 2008), and firm value (Barth et al., 2017).

Furthermore, there is a paucity of research on the relationship between the management of sustainability and its reporting (Adams and Frost, 2008; Bouten & Hoozee, 2013). Moreover, since the special issue of "Sustainable development: management and accounting" (Bebbington and Thomson, 2013), the role of accounting in the CSR field has been extended to include sustainability practices also. Nonetheless, the research effort aimed at disentangling this topic is still limited (Bebbington and Larringa, 2014; Bebbington and Unermann, 2018).

More research is also needed to ascertain whether the design and use of performance management systems as well as the reporting of CSR practices apply similarly (vs. differently) to different contexts, with regard to firm size (Hosoda, 2018), strategy, national culture, and environmental uncertainty.


While submissions may cover a wide range of issues and research perspectives, the following themes are indicative but not exhaustive:

  • What makes for an effective CSR program?
  • How is CSR built into objectives, strategies, measures, initiatives (budgets, scorecards, dashboards)?
  • How do managers define and track CSR success?
  • How do managers ensure good execution of CSR programs of various types?
  • What are the steps in the implementation of a successful CSR program?
  • Does the mandatory requirement for non-financial disclosure better address the link between management accounting and financial reporting?
  • Is there any difference in mandatory and voluntary disclosure?
  • How can the decision-making process triggering sustainability practices and reporting be analyzed?
  • Is there any interaction between different sustainability reporting frameworks (GRI, SDG, IIRC) and control packages involved in the sustainable practices?;
  • Are there any interrelationships between performance management and (non-financial) reporting of ethical, social and environmental activities?
  • Do SMEs adopt management accounting and reporting practices for sustainability? Which are their main motivations for this decision? Are there any peculiarities in the sustainability process?
  • What types of challenges do public institutions face in the light of sustainability? How do they react in terms of sustainability practices, control systems supporting those practices and the reporting of the ensuing outcomes?


Abstract submission: extended abstract (max 2,000 words) by 12th October 2019

Notification of Abstract acceptance: by 31st October 2019

Workshop registration: by 31st October 2019


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