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LAURA GIRELLA

Ricercatore t.d. art. 24 c. 3 lett. B presso: Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi"


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Pubblicazioni

2020 - Il ruolo dell’IIRC. Il modello integrated reporting [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, Laura
abstract


2020 - Integrated Reporting and Corporate Governance. Boards, Long-Term Value Creation, and the New Accountability [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Girella, Laura
abstract


2019 - Concepts travelling across disciplinary fields: The case of the business model [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Ferrari, E.; Tizzano, R.
abstract

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the concept of Business Model has been explored by scholars from a broad range of business studies and particularly those in the strategic arena. In the last few years, this interest has also been echoed by accounting and management scholars, professionals, standard setters as well as organisations operating more widely in the corporate reporting field worldwide. Despite this extensive attention from academic, professional and institutional fields, it is still not entirely clear what drivers have led to this concept being espoused by such varied fields of research and action, and what implications can be derived from this. Moving from this standpoint, the paper intends to examine the processes and actors that have accompanied the Business Model in its ‘journey’ from the strategy field to the financial and non-financial reporting fields in order to reveal the similarities and differences that characterise the (disciplinary) attitudes towards the adoption of this concept in these three fields. Accordingly, it provides evidence on the extent to which these three disciplines have to be conceived as static or as subject to continuous change. Drawing on the sociological theory of structuration (Giddens in The constitution of society: outline of the theory of structuration. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984) applied to disciplinary territories conceived of as social systems, we undertake an in-depth analysis of the articles published in strategy on Business Model as well as the documents released by the International Accounting Standards Board when it formulated the International Financial Reporting Standard 9 and by the International Integrated Reporting Council with respect to the preparation of the International Framework. Our findings support the view that the three arenas have reacted to the adoption of this concept differently, even though some analogies can be observed. Accordingly, the paper intends to contribute to the financial, non-financial reporting and business model literatures and practices, by highlighting the ways in which this concept has entered varied domains of research and action and the extent to which this adoption has affected the foundations and the ‘functioning’ (Bourdieu in Regards Sociol 17(18):5–27, 1999) of these fields.


2019 - Exploring the firm and country determinants of the voluntary adoption of integrated reporting [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, Laura; Rossi, Paola; Zambon, Stefano
abstract

Information used to manage the business and support the decision‐making of stakeholders is being subject to evolution. In this context, traditional financial reporting is considered not sufficient anymore. This has translated into a sharp increase in the number of firms that have begun to adopt emerging reporting practices. This study aims to examine the influence that both firm‐ and country‐specific characteristics have on the voluntary uptaking of integrated reporting internationally. In order to do so, it analyses a sample of 71 international listed companies that have adopted this reporting form in 2016. The results show that firms are more likely to implement integrated reporting if they are located in countries with a higher level of corruption perception and a better risk rating and that are considered as relatively more collectivist and feminist and with a long‐term orientation. The legal system has resulted to be not significant. As for firms' characteristics, large size, profitability, market‐to‐book ratio, and the size of the board are found to be significant variables. Moreover, the results indicate that the adoption of integrated reporting is not influenced by a higher level of leverage, firm efficiency and board diversity and independence.


2019 - Is there a theory of the firm for non-financial reporting? The case of Integrated Reporting [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, L.; Marzo, G.; Abela, M.
abstract

Why do a firm exists and with which objectives are questions that have accompanied the conceptual and practical developments of the theory of the firm in similar albeit different disciplines, such as economics, business economics and finance. Foss (1993) distinguishes between theories of the firm rooted in the economics tradition and those linked to the business tradition. The economics-based theories of the firm originated to contrast the neoclassical view which conceives the firm as a production function, that is they aim to find a rationale for the existence of the firm. In this respect, starting form Coase (1937) contribution, the firm is seen as the result of the market failure. All economics-based theories are about transactions and their costs, and rely on the rejection of (some) fanciful assumptions about perfect and complete markets lying at the heart of neoclassical theory. Competence-based theories have a very different DNA as compared to economicsbased ones: they originated from the attempt to explain the different performances achieved by firms operating in the same industry, that is to answer the question ‘why companies operating in the same industry differ in their performance?’. In the group of competence-based theories it is possible to distinguish two main approaches. The first is the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm, as elaborated in the pioneering works of Wernerfelt (1984) and Barney (1986). The second is the Dynamic-Capabilities Theory (DCT) of the firm, often also referred to as Evolutionary Theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Teece, 1987 and 2007; Teece, Pisano, and Shuen, 1990 and 1997). Since these conceptualisations have been put forth, the reference to a theory of the firm has become essential for those interested also in financial reporting. In fact, a theory of the firm deals with fundamental aspects, such as the what is the nature of the firm (and its boundaries, in the economics tradition) and what are the firm’s main goal and primary stakeholder(s) to which the activity is referred to. The same three issues are also at the core of any reporting system. Reporting is indeed concerned with the nature and the boundaries of the reported object (e.g. the firm or entity) (Girella, 2018), as well as with the achieved goal of the firm for specific stakeholders (for example, earning and value creation for shareholders and other investors, or value added for communities and employees). Despite the significance of such a topic to understand and appreciate the role and objective of accounting and reporting, few studies have extended such investigation to the emergent forms of reporting practices, such as sustainability, intangibles and integrated reporting. Marzo (2014) represents an exception, which has started to problematise how the reference to a theory of the firm can assist the investigation of Intellectual Capital and of its reporting practices in a consistent way. Nonetheless this initial effort, a peripheral number of works have followed this path. This paper aims to fill this void. Starting from the analysis of a representative type of non-financial reporting, namely Integrated Reporting and its framework, it carries out two levels of investigation. First, it explores the theory of the firm which the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has referred to in developing the above mentioned document. Second, by relying on the results of the first level of analysis, the paper will also assess the internal (in)consistencies of the fundamental pillars at the core of the analysed types of reporting. Moving from this examination, the contribution that this work intends to provide to the literature and practice is twofold. This study is, in the authors’ knowledge, the first attempt to analyse non-financial reporting from a theory of the firm perspective. Accordingly, it can shed light on relevant a


2019 - Putting integrated reporting where it was not: The case of the not-for-profit sector [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Dameri, P. R.
abstract

Nowadays we are facing a new phase of capitalism. Information that is beyond financial capital and able to provide a more comprehensive picture of the path towards better transparency and accountability is increasingly needed and requested. A remarkable body of evidence already exist on how large, listed companies are facing this change, but very little is known about the non-for-profit sector. This work aims to analyse if and how new forms of reporting, such as integrated reporting, can be adopted by not-for-profit organisations to illustrate their efforts towards an improvement in their accountability processes. To this end, through an interventionist approach, the case of an Italian not-for-profit organization operating in the collection and redistribution of food is examined. It emerges that, integrated reporting can represent a valuable device that can be adopted also by the not-for-profit sector to improve its accountability. However, in order to be successfully implemented, some modifications have to be made in order to better encounter the specificities of these organisational settings.


2019 - Reporting on sustainable development: A comparison of three Italian small and medium‐sized enterprises [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Zambon, S.; Rossi, P.
abstract

Nowadays, we are facing a new phase of capitalism. Information that is beyond financial capital and able to provide a more comprehensive picture of the path towards sustainable development of organizations is increasingly needed. A remarkable body of evidence already exists on how large listed companies are facing this change, but very little is known about small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). This work aims to analyse if and to what extent new forms of reporting such as sustainability and integrated reporting are adopted by SMEs to illustrate their journey to sustainable development. To this end, the reports of three Italian SMEs have been examined against the internationally set principles and contents of these reporting models. It emerges that, despite the shared ambition of these reports, they are different in nature and deliver a quite distinctive representation of the concerned SMEs and their ways to pursuing and communicating sustainable development at a micro level.


2018 - Conceptual shifts in accounting: Transplanting the notion of boundary from financial to non-financial reporting [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Abela, M.; Ferrari, E.
abstract

In 1998 Miller, in his paper titled “The margins of accounting” observed that “By looking at the margins of accounting, we can understand how this influential body of expertise is formed and transformed” (Miller, 1998: 618). Drawing on this analogy, the boundaries of reporting and the ways these are defined and re-defined, as a consequence of the relationships organisations form with other entities from time to time, and their substantive nature provide insights about the business and its business model. Accordingly, an examination of reporting boundaries helps to better understand and appreciate the objective of an organisation, the logic that underlies its business model and how that is ‘reflected’ and communicated through the reporting entity’s financial statements – which may or may not align with the boundaries of the ‘organisation’. Despite the relevance of reporting boundaries as a critical aspect of the accounting discipline, it remains a relatively unexplored area in the literature. Accordingly, the aim of this work is to offer an initial overview on how the boundaries of reporting have (not) changed in response to the broadening scope of reporting to address both financial and ‘non-financial’ information (e.g. sustainability, governance and intangibles) and attempts to promote greater integration between both sets of information (IIRC, 2013). In particular, the analysis draws on the interpretative schemes of Zambon (1996) and Zambon and Zan (2000) and is combined with the concept of ‘transplantation’. The manner in which reporting boundaries are defined for both financial and non-financial reporting is investigated and compared. This comparison enables similarities and differences between the definition of the ‘reporting boundary’ to be problematised and explored for both financial and nonfinancial reporting.


2018 - Education and Bookkeping in XV century Venice: A revisitation and some interdisciplinary insights [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, L.; Cordazzo, M.
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2018 - La comunicazione aziendale nelle imprese di minori dimensioni [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, L.; Ferrari, E.
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2018 - L’evoluzione dell’informativa aziendale: verso il report integrato. Un quadro nazionale e internazionale [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, Laura
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2018 - The Boundaries in Financial and Non-Financial Reporting: A Comparative Analysis of their Constitutive Role [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Girella, Laura
abstract


2017 - ‘Soft Regulating’ Integrating Reporting for SMEs: The Case of Italy [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Girella, Laura; Del Baldo, Mara
abstract


2016 - Accounting theory and accounting practice as loosely coupled systems: A historical perspective on the Italian case (1930-1990)” [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Zambon, S.
abstract

Despite its crucial role for a practically oriented discipline such as accounting, the relationship between theory and practice in this domain appears to be relatively unexplored, and even more so it is in comparative terms. Adopting a longitudinal approach, the paper aims to investigate this relationship referring to the Italian experience in the period 1930-1990, which is set against the background of a well known interpretation of the theory-practice interplay proposed for the USA, i.e. the “market for excuses” model (Watts and Zimmerman, 1979). In the Italian environment, the relationship between accounting theory and accounting practice shows contents and trajectories which are rather dissimilar from those implied by positive researchers with reference to the American context. In particular, it emerges that in Italy accounting theory, that has an inherent ex ante nature and is encapsulated into a wider institutionally-veined body of knowledge called ‘economia aziendale’, has been in the main detached from practice and operational needs. Thus, Italian theory and practice could be fruitfully described as two loosely coupled systems with occasional and unintended intersections, each of which has its own internal logics and its own “demand-supply” dynamics. In this respect, the Watts and Zimmerman’s model denotes a limited explanatory power when applied to contexts – such as the Italian one – presenting socio-economic features, as well as a theoretical tradition, which are distinctively different from the USA.


2016 - Exploring the conceptualisation of Intangibles in law and accounting in the USA: A historical perspective [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L; Bagnoli, C.; Zambon, S.
abstract

Purpose – Over the last decades concepts and practices related to intangibles gained momentum at international level, especially within the economic, accounting and management arenas. However, dating back to the beginning of the 1900s, intangibles was a topic that in the USA dominated the law and taxation fields. Indeed, at that time few papers were published in accounting journals and reviews, whereas the majority populated law and taxation publications. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing upon the sociology of the profession, the ways through which lawyers and accountants constructed a “professional competition and power” (Dezalay and Sugarman, 2005) upon this arena are here explored. In particular, an in-depth analysis of the papers published on this field from the beginning of the 1900s until the 1970s in the USA is carried out. Findings – Notwithstanding the current conceptualisation of intangibles as a field of research and practice at the margins (Miller, 1998) of accounting, the results achieved in the present research suggest that, at least historically, the topic of intangibles was highly intertwined not only within the different streams of accounting studies and practice, but also with the developments in legal and taxation fields that were surrounding the US economic, social and political institutional scenario. Originality/value – The work intends to contribute to the current literature providing insights into the “genealogy” (Foucault, 1977) of the intangibles territory and the “turf battles” (Dezalay, 1995) it went through in order to become what has been defined as “a field upon which questions of disciplinary legitimacy have been raised” (Zambon, 2006) and, consequently, as characterized by “an intrusion of ‘external’ specialists into the accounting domain” (Power, 2001).


2014 - Varieties of capitalism vs. varieties of ‘soft regulatory’ theories. A discussion on the case of Intangibles Reporting in Japan and Germany [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, L.; Zambon, S.
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2014 - Wissensbilanz in Germany: An analysis of its emergence and governmental guideline [Capitolo/Saggio]
Girella, Laura
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2013 - A political economy of Intangibles Reporting: the case of Japan [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Zambon, S.
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2013 - Regulating through the logic of appropriateness and the rhetoric of the expert: the role of consultants in the case of Intangibles Reporting in Germany [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, L.; Zambon, S.
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2009 - “Business reporting for management change”: l’approccio dell’Intellectual Assets-based Management (IAbM) in Giappone [Articolo su rivista]
Girella, Laura
abstract