Integrated reporting in higher education: insights from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

Mahalaxmi Adhikariparajul, Abeer Hassan*, Mary Fletcher, Ahmed Elamer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the level of disclosure on content elements of Integrated Reporting (IR) in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). We suggest that integrated thinking is an internal process that organizations can follow to increase the level of disclosure on integrated reporting that can be used as an effective mechanism to enhance accountability with stakeholders.


International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) guidelines and content analysis are used to analyse IR content elements in HEI reports from 2014-2016.

The results indicate a significant increase in the trend and extent of IR content elements. The HEI specific characteristics examined, such as establishment of HEI; adoption of IR framework and governing board size are all statistically and positively associated with IR content elements disclosure. This paper introduces signalling theory to explore the idea that appropriate communication via integrated thinking can close the gap between the organization and its stakeholders via increased level of disclosure on IR content elements.

Practical implications
The results will assist policymakers and regulators to assess the benefits of voluntary implementation of IR at HEIs and evaluated possible mandatory implementation of IIRC guidelines. Second, the findings can assist managers of institutions interested in implementing integrated reporting.

Social implications
The study recommends universities to explicitly address IR issues in reporting as this will increase their impact as leaders of educational thoughts in addition to their roles as partners, advisors, counsellors and assessors.

The study explores whether HEIs in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales provide disclosure on IIRC content elements as a reflection of integrated thinking and whether the connectivity and interdependence between different departments will help to signal to stake holders how HEIs create value for society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Apr 2020


  • integrated reporting
  • integrated thinking
  • Higher Education Institutions
  • content alanysis
  • signalling theory


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