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Reputational risk and environmental performance auditing: a study in the Australian commonwealth public sector

Rika, Nacanieli J. and Jacobs, Kerry (2019) Reputational risk and environmental performance auditing: a study in the Australian commonwealth public sector. Financial Accountability and Management, 35 (2). pp. 182-198. ISSN 0267-4424

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This paper examines how reputational risk to government is generated through framing and overflows evident in environmental performance auditing. It analyses two high-profile performance audits conducted by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). It is motivated by a gap in the literature on performance auditing and environmental auditing which both acknowledge that audits may give rise to reputational risk but have not analysed the process through which this occurs. Using ideas of framing (Goffman, 1974) and overflow (Callon, 1983), this paper extends the work of Power (2007) by explaining how different accounts can be constructed from the same underlying events through the application of different frames. Alternative framings generate reputational risk by highlighting contentious issues that may otherwise have been ignored or received minimal consideration. In particular, representatives of the opposition and media can use political and public interest frames to construct performance accounts which differ from and challenge the improvement frame emphasised by performance auditors and favoured by government. This paper shows that auditors’ roles are more complex than often assumed and that auditors relate to different audiences through different frames.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: Nacanieli Rika
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2019 23:39
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2019 23:39

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