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The determinants and consequences of integrated reporting quality: An empirical analysis using worldwide voluntary adopters (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/AFM/SOBHAN)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr A Sobhan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Every day we come across reports that business organisation fails to integrate sustainability into their core business model despite this integration is necessary to ensure sustainable returns to shareholders in the long run and accountability to stakeholders and society at large. Research demonstrates the limits of traditional corporate reporting and stand-alone corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting to promote the integration mentioned above. This led the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to patronise the establishment of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) with the mandate to develop a framework for integrated reporting . IIRC developed the International Framework in 2013 and revised it in 2021. According to the International Framework, an integrated report concisely communicates how an organisation creates value for shareholders and other stakeholders and society at large, in the short, medium and long term, and the interdependencies between these two aspects of value creation (IIRC, 2013, p. 7). This requirement of reporting the interconnectivity between two aspects of value creation is argued to internally change the cognitive framework of the people charged with organisational governance about the role of environmental and sustainability initiatives to create value for shareholders in the short, medium and long term and hence, assists them to better integrate sustainability actions and impacts into corporate strategic planning, decision making and operations.

Integrated reporting is gaining support worldwide. Although its implementation remains voluntary across the world other than in South Africa, it is adopted as a reporting framework by a large number of organisations globally. However, we know relatively very little about how the country-level institutions and internal corporate governance framework of companies affect the quality of adoption of integrated reporting by these global voluntary adopters. We also know very little about the effectiveness or limitations of integrated reporting to promote the integration of sustainability into the core business model and create value for shareholders and stakeholders and society at large in the global context.

This PhD project, therefore, aims to analyse and develop a holistic understanding of the determinants of integrated reporting quality and its possible impact on value creation for both shareholders and other stakeholders using a global sample, representing over 2,500 organisations across 70 countries that have adopted IR by the end of 2020. The project will require the development of several measures, including IRQ and value creation for both shareholders and other stakeholders, either using content analysis of annual reports or financial and non-financial performance metrics. The outcome of this research project will either support or refute the claim of IIRC and its supporters and inform policymakers and regulators.

The supervision team will consist of Dr Sobhan and Professor Salama.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/BL/AFM/SOBHAN) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Journal articles on governance and non-financial reporting:
Albarrak, M. S., Elnahass, M., & Salama, A. (2019). The effect of carbon dissemination on cost
of equity. Business Strategy and the Environment, 28(6), 1179-1198.
Alsaifi, K., Elnahass, M., Al-Awadhi, A. M., & Salama, A. (2021). Carbon disclosure and firm
risk: evidence from the UK corporate responses to climate change. Eurasian Business
Alsaifi, K., Elnahass, M., & Salama, A. (2020). Carbon disclosure and financial performance: UK
environmental policy. Business Strategy and the Environment, 29(2), 711-726.
Alsaifi, K., Elnahass, M., & Salama, A. (2020). Market responses to firms’ voluntary carbon
disclosure: Empirical evidence from the United Kingdom. Journal of Cleaner
Production, 262, 121377.
Al-Shaer, H., Salama, A., & Toms, S. (2017). Audit committees and financial reporting quality:
Evidence from UK environmental accounting disclosures. Journal of Applied Accounting
Research. 18(1), 2 – 21.
Jizi, M., Nehme, R., & Salama, A. (2016). Do social responsibility disclosures show
improvements on stock price?. The Journal of Developing Areas, 50(2), 77-95.
Other articles non-financial reporting and performance submitted to journals or in progress:
Bose, S., Sobhan, A., Hossain, S., and Handley, K. (2021). Female Strategic Leaders and CSR
Performance, Accounting and Finance. (Response to first review submitted)
Other recent publications:
Mazumder, M., & Sobhan, A. (2021), The Spillover Effect of the Bangladesh Bank Cyber Heist
on Banks’ Cyber Risk Disclosures in Bangladesh, Journal of Operational Risk, 15(4), 75-
Shams, R., Sobhan, A., Vrontis, D., Belyaeva, Z. & Vukovic, D. B. (2021), Detection of financial
fraud risk: implications for financial stability, Journal of Operational Risk, 15(4), 1-15.
Sobhan, A. (2016). Where institutional logics of corporate governance collide: Overstatement of
compliance in a developing country, Bangladesh. Corporate Governance: An International
Review, 24(6), 599-618.
Sobhan, A. and Adegbite, E. (2021), Determinants of the quality of external board evaluation in
the UK, Corporate Governance, 21(7), 1362-1392.
Recent Research Grants Applied:
Principal investigator on a Research project titled The motivation, process and outcomes of adoption of integrated reporting by two pioneering companies in an emerging economy, Bangladesh. Funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), UK (2018) £4,956.
Co-investigator on a Research project titled Do the climate-related risk management practices following TCFD recommendations affect carbon performance? International evidence. Funded by Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), (2020) £29,742. The last date of submission was 13 November 2020 decision is yet to be made by CIMA.
Co-investigator on a research project tender FRC2020 -024 Remuneration Research Project, Financial Reporting Council, UK (2020) £ 41,689.54. Proposal was ranked in top 3 by FRC evaluation panel but finally did not win the bid.
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