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Research projects

Misum Affiliated Researchers are involved in several ongoing research projects, both within their platform and in collaboration with other research institutes or industry partners. A selection of projects involving affiliates from the Accounting Frameworks Platform can be found below.

From minimum wage to fair living wages in the fashion industry

Misum researchers: Yiwen Lu, PhD Student, Department of Accounting, SSE; Marek Reuter, Researcher at the Department of Accounting, SSE; and Torkel Strömsten, Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE

Project start date: July 2019

Main project stakeholder: H&M Group

In recent decades, the “living wage”, a discourse that seeks to support fairer wages, has gained traction in many areas of society. While the extant literature has drawn attention to how predominantly calculative accounting practices, concepts and norms have been implicated in low wage issues in organizations and society, there is still a lack of studies on the application of accounting practices that claim to promote fairer wages. This case study of a fast fashion supply chain investigates how a wage governance mechanism moves from complying with a minimum wage to constructing a fair living wage in its global supply chains, particularly in the context of Bangladesh and India. By drawing attention to the qualitative and collective dimensions of wage decisions, it investigates how control practices under the living wage discourse can reframe wage decision making on site at supplier firms. More specifically, the findings illustrate how wage-related supplier controls developed from a purely calculative, monetary focus to also accommodate non-monetary and qualitative considerations on enhancing workers’ living standards.

This project is partially funded by Mistra, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research. Image from unsplash.

Consumers take issue with responsible consumption – but not with the premise of individual responsibility

Misum researchers: Friederike Döbbe of the Sustainable Business Development through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform, PhD student Department of Management and Organization, SSE and Emilia Cederberg, Assistant Professor Department of Accounting, SSE
Project dates: January 2020 to spring 2023

In the fall of 2019, a major Swedish consumer goods company launched a campaign with a message that called on consumers to switch their consumption to cut greenhouse gas emissions. To illustrate the emission-saving potential, the campaign used a calculation and comparison with transport emissions. The campaign was heavily criticized by consumers on social media and through formal complaints to the consumer protection agency. This qualitative study analyzes the campaign and the reactions to it.

Marketing campaigns that draw on environmental and climate change claims are increasingly common but also coming under increased scrutiny from both regulators and the public. The study offers a “cautionary tale” for marketers, as consumers are critical of both simple win-win arguments and the consequences of promoting one consumption choice over another.

Greening the trucks

Misum researchers: Torkel Strömsten, Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE
Project dates: 2018 - 2022
Main project stakeholder: Scania
Other researchers and collaborators: KTH Industrial Management and Economics, KTH, Siemens

In a large study on the globally recognized Swedish truck manufacturer, Scania, Torkel and the project team are studying the company’s transformation towards a solution-based business model where sustainability through aligning the company to the 2015 Paris Agreement’s 1,5 degree target plays a key role. Currently, Scania is undergoing a major transformation where large investments in electrification are being made. Scania was among the first in its industry to adopt and commit to the Science Based Targets initiative and researchers from the Accounting Frameworks platform follow this work closely through interviews, meetings and workshops. Scania is also involved in SSE’s teaching and provides guest lectures around the topics of sustainability and business transformation.

This project is funded by Misum and Handelsbankens Forskningsstiftelser. Image by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash.

Financial statement comparability in extractive industries

Misum researchers: Niclas Hellman, Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE; Mariya N. Ivanova, Assistant Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE
Other researchers and collaborators: Zeping Pan, PhD Student at the Department of Accounting, SSE

This research project aims to evaluate the financial statement comparability (FSC) of extractive-industry (EI) firms around the world. The FSC literature offers an established framework for measuring the economic effects of various aspects of FSC on different users’ behaviour. Our study differs from prior research by studying the effects of FSC in a particular industry. EI activities are capital intense and risky and rely on extensive equity and corporate-bond financing. Still, prevailing financial reporting standards allow for flexible recognition, measurement and disclosure practices. We currently have limited knowledge of how this flexibility has affected the quality and comparability of financial statements, and, in turn, the effects on users of financial statement information. We believe the empirical evidence to be gathered in this project will provide valuable input to the IASB’s Research Project on extractive activities.

This project is part of a programme coordinated by the International Association for Accounting Education & Research (IAAER) with funding from KPMG. More about the programme here. Image from Unsplash

Investigating the social construction of 'responsible' supplier identities in transnational supply chains: The case of the fast fashion industry

Misum researchers: Marek Reuter, Assistant Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE; Torkel Strömsten, Misum Platform Director and Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE
Other researchers or collaborators: Martin Messner, Department of Organization & Learning, University of Innsbruck

In recent decades, there has been a shift from ‘arms-length’ compliance towards a ‘collaborative’ paradigm in sustainability supply chain governance. Our study investigates how this development is implicated in changing conceptions of supplier firms’ identity. More specifically, we examine how the emergence of the ‘collaborative paradigm features the social construction of the supplier firm as an actor equipped with the capability for sovereign responsibility. As such, our study aims to shed light on how innovations in sustainability supply chain governance reshuffle the ambiguous and uncertain notion and locale of accountability in the context of the transnational supply chain.

The project is funded by Handelsbanken. Image from Unsplash

Getting comfortable with climate scenarios: A study on making the TCFD scenario analysis auditable

Misum researchers: Marek Reuter, Assistant Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE; Torkel Strömsten, Misum Platform Director and Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE
Other researchers and collaborators: Stephan Füchtenhans and Roshanna Li, SSE alumni 

A core aim of the Task Force of Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Framework is to incorporate climate-related issues into risk management activities and thereby promote more informed investment, credit, and insurance related decision-making of capital market stakeholders. Auditing can play a key facilitating role to ensure reliability and credibility of the information produced; which, however, is typically underpinned by subjective, qualitative and forward looking data coined by many unverifiable and/or debatable assumptions. Our study sheds light on professionals’ ‘discomforts’ related to TCFD auditing as well as how the latter are addressed so as to render the TCFD framework ‘auditable’.

Image from flickr

Environmental management and 'green' identity: An investigation into the social (re-)construction of responsible corporate 'Self'

Misum researcher: Marek Reuter, Assistant Professor at the Department of Accounting, SSE

The project investigates how the adoption of standards-based environmental management practices can feature within members’ conceptions of their organization as a ‘responsible’ (or not so responsible) entity. The study shows how, paradoxically, corporate adoption of green certification practices might constitute both a demand to ‘act in character’ with and simultaneously an ‘identity threat’ to locally emerged conceptions of ‘responsible’ corporate ‘Self’. Overall, the research project problematizes the abstract and disembedded nature of modern, technocratic and market-based environmental management practices by showing how these may transmit rationalities and moralities not necessarily coherent with those embedded in locally evolved interpretive frames.

Image from Pexels