The International <IR> Framework’s impact on the social and relationship disclosures in the healthcare industry
Abstract: Abstract Background and Problem: The altering business world and the growing requests from stakeholders have resulted in the establishment of new reports. These are among others Sustainability reports and Integrated Reporting. On the contrary, traditional financial reports do not consider the significance of intangible assets in modern entities. The social and relationship capital has further shown to be important for firms, especially healthcare companies and pharmaceuticals, but is not as developed as other capitals within the <IR> framework and therefore not always included in annual reports. However too few disclosures within this area could lead to high liabilities. The IIRC launched the <IR> framework year 2013 as a solution, as it gives a more comprehensive view of the reporting entity. Within this framework there are six capitals: manufactured, human, financial, natural, intellectual and social and relationship. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to find out how the International <IR> Framework has influenced the reporting of the social and relationship disclosures within the healthcare industry, to compare the reporting of the six medical firms chosen and to examine how the social concerns have been developed over time. Delimitations: This study is conducted over a period of three years, from year 2012 to year 2014. It only examines healthcare companies which use the International <IR> framework and it has solely focus on the social and relationship capital. All other capitals within the <IR> framework are excluded from the study. Method: This study has a qualitative research strategy and is based on information collected from published documents in form of annual reports. The annual reports from year 2010, 2011 and 2012 are used to find social and relationship disclosures and a disclosure scoreboard is used to find similarities, differences and patterns. Empirical Results and Conclusion: It has been found that the aggregated social and relationship disclosures have been reduced over time. The year followed by the release of the <IR> framework was seen to have the least disclosures and therefore conclusion was drawn that the <IR> framework had a negative influence on the social and relationship disclosures. There were also differences among the companies studied both in extent and content. The former could be linked to factors such as size and nationality and the latter could be linked to reputation preservation and legitimacy interests.
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