Case study

Identify an organisation facing a crisis or involved in a public controversy (e.g., an accident, a product safety/health hazard, a scandal, an environmental disaster, or a major structural re-organisation, such as privatisation or demutualisation) and investigate how the organisation reacted to it by means of information releases (e.g., press releases, annual report, corporate social responsibility report, etc.). Use a variety of accounting theories to explain the organisations response to the event.

You can use the organisations website to download documents issued by the organisation. Please note that Tutorial 6 (Week 8) will deal with issues surrounding case study selection, data collection and analysis.

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Structure of assignment
Please follow the structure provided below. Bold numbered items provide the headings and sub-headings for your essay. Bulleted items provide a short description of the type of content expected in each section and sub-section.

1. Introduction
• Discussion of concepts and theories used to analyse the case [20 marks]
2. The case
2.1 Context
• Background information about the case [10 marks]
2.2 Data
• Description of corporate disclosure vehicles chosen for analysis (i.e., press releases, annual reports, CSR reports, etc.) [10 marks]
2.3 Methodology
• Discussion of the categories of analysis used to analyse the corporate texts (e.g., text length, themes, impression management strategies, etc.) [15 marks]
3. Findings
• Summary of findings of your analysis [35 marks]
4. Conclusion
• Discussion of findings in context of theory and prior literature [10 marks]


Word limit
The word limit is 1,500 words maximum. The case study should include a list of references containing all the materials you have consulted and cited. References in the references section should be mentioned in the text and vice versa.

Referencing style
Please use the Harvard referencing style.

Assignment of marks
You need to demonstrate the application of accounting theories to interpret and analyse your data. You are expected to read around the subject and will be rewarded, if you refer to journal articles or other authoritative sources of information (books and book chapters, NOT websites) to support your argument. Please note that the list of references provided below is just a starting point and is not meant to be exhaustive. The majority of articles are available through the Bangor University library. The articles not available through the library have been posted on blackboard.
Beelitz, A. and Merkl-Davies, D.M. (2012), ‘Using discourse to restore organisational legitimacy: ‘CEO-speak after an incident in a German nuclear power plant, Journal of Business Ethics, 108 (1): 101-120.
Breitsohl, H. (2009), ‘Organizational Crises and Reactions from a Legitimacy Perspective Results from Two Multiple-case Studies, Schumpeter Discussion Paper 2009-007. Wuppertal. (on blackboard)
Breton, G. and Coté, L. (2006), ‘Profit and the Legitimacy of the Canadian Banking Industry, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 19(2), 512-539.
Deegan, C. and Rankin, M. (1996), ‘Do Australian companies report environmental news objectively?: An analysis of environmental disclosures by firms prosecuted successfully by the Environmental Protection Authority, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 9 (2): 50-67.
Elsbach, K.D. (1994), ‘Managing organizational legitimacy in the Californian cattle industry: the construction and effectiveness of verbal accounts, Administrative Science Quarterly, 39(1), 5788.
Elsbach, K. D. (2000), ‘The Architecture of legitimacy: Constructing accounts of organisational controversies, in J. T. Jost and B. Major (eds.), The Psychology of Legitimacy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge), 391-415. (on blackboard)
Hooghiemstra, R. (2000), ‘Corporate communication and impression management New perspectives why companies engage in corporate social reporting. Journal of Business Ethics, 27, 55-68.
Islam, M. A. and Deegan, C. (2010). ‘Media pressures and corporate disclosure of social responsibility performance information: a study of two global clothing and sports retail companies. Accounting and Business Research, 40(2): 131-148.
Lightstone, K. and Driscoll, C. (2008), ‘Disclosing Elements of Disclosure: A Test of Legitimacy Theory and Company Ethics, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 25(1), 7-21.
Linsley, P., and Kajüter, P.M. (2008), ‘Restoring reputation and repairing legitimacy. A case study of impression management in response to a major risk event at Allied Irish Banks plc, International Journal of Financial Services Management, 3(1): 65-82.
Massey, J.E. (2001), “Managing Organisational Legitimacy: Communication Strategies for Organizations in Crisis”, Journal of Business Communication, 38(2): 153-184.
Ogden, S. and Clarke, J. (2005), ‘Customer disclosures, impression management and the construction of legitimacy: corporate reports in the UK privatised water industry, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 18(3): 313-345.
OKeefe, P. and Conway, S. (2008), ‘Impression Management and Legitimacy in a NGO Environment, University of Tasmania School of Accounting Working Paper Series 02/2008.
Xu, K. and Li, W. (2013), ‘An Ethical Stakeholder Approach to Crisis Communication: A Case Study of Foxconns 2010 Employee Suicide Crisis, Journal of Business Ethics, 117(2): 371-386.

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