A Communitarian Approach to Constructing Accountability and Strategies for Sustainable Development

Murugesh Arunachalam, Stewart Lawrence, Martin Kelly, Joanne Locke


This paper explores some ideas for expanding the scope of corporate accountability and therebycontemporary practices in corporate social reporting (CSR). Contemporary CSR practices havebeen criticized for acting as a legitimizing device for profit-seeking entities possibly at the expenseof the community. A communitarian correction to CSR practices suggests that accountabilityto the community is necessary for any accounting aimed at sustainability. The interpretivemethodology adopted in this study starts with a set of ideas or “pre-understandings†drawnfrom extant literature on accountability and communitarian philosophy. These ideas provide atheoretical lens for examining and understanding the participation of the Taupo business, farmingand general community in formulating strategies for sustainable development.of the TaupoDistrict in New Zealand. Alternating between our pre-understanding and the empirical data, aprocess known as “fusion of horizons†(Gadamer, 1975) in philosophical hermeneutics, is ameans by which theories can be developed.. This interpretive study indicates that meaning ofaccountability can be extended beyond a narrow conventional sense portraying accountabilityas a process of providing an account. Accountability also involves other dimensions such asmoral responsibility, cooperative enquiry, information sharing, transparency and joint responsibility.From a communitarian perspective these dimensions of accountability emphasise thecentrality of community and communal values. Accountability for environmental and socialissues extends beyond the domain of corporations, and involves community participation. Copyright © www.iiste.org

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Issues In Social and Environmental Accounting (ISEA) - ISSN: 1978-0591