An analysis of the section level of detail and disclosure of the six capitals in the strategy, risk and performance sections of the integrated reports of top JSE-listed companies

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Purpose: This thesis assesses the level of detail of the strategy, risk and performance sections of 240 integrated reports of 30 companies selected from the top 100 JSE-listed companies by market capitalisation on 09 June 2021 for their 2013 to 2020 financial years. It also assesses whether the six capitals of the IIRC’s Framework are addressed in these sections. Method: A disclosure checklist was developed interpretively, based on relevant literature. Content analysis was used to evaluate the level of detail of the respective sections of the sampled companies’ integrated reports and whether the six capitals are addressed in these sections. Descriptive statistical tools, Kruskal-Wallis H tests, Jonckheere-Terpstra tests, and correlation tests (Spearman’s rho and Kendall’s tau-b), were performed to analyse the data and determine if there are significant associations between year, industry, market capitalisation (grouping variables), and level of detail and capital presence (dependent variables). Key findings: There was a great level of detail in the strategy, risk and performance sections of the integrated reports. In the respective sections, the companies mentioned their strategy, risk and performance factors. They provided descriptions of these factors and/or provided company specific results on the factors mentioned. Significant positive associations were evident between level of detail and the grouping variables. The six capitals were often included in the sections. On average, companies included between 4 and 6 capitals in all integrated report sections. The presence of financial capital and social and relationship capital were prominent in the various sections. The presence of natural capital was the least referenced of the six capitals. Significant differences were evident between the grouping variables and various capitals in the sections. Contribution: This paper is an exploratory study which assesses the level of detail and capital presence in specific integrated reporting sections. The longitudinal nature of the study (which coincides with the publication of the IIRC’s Framework (2013) and King IV (2016)) can add to the limited number of studies on integrated thinking and reporting. A basic level of detail analysis of the strategy, risk and performance sections may be useful to understand content which firms are relaying about their value creation processes. This paper can assist stakeholders in better understanding integrated thinking through the IIRC’s six-capital model.
A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022
Integrated reporting, Integrated thinking, Level of detail, UCTD