I am interested in voluntary reporting, accounting for social and environmental impacts, and a number of issues in business ethics. I am also the examiner for an ACCA professional paper and am a member of several journal editorial boards in the fields of accounting and business ethics. I hold an adjunct professorship at MDI (Management Development Institute) in Delhi, India, and in 2014 I will be taking up a visiting professorship in accounting at the University of Sydney.
BSc (Chemistry, CNAA) 1986
MBA (Newcastle) 1991
PGCED (Northumbria) 1993
PhD (Northumbria) 2002 (in social accounting, incorporating disclosure and ethical theory).
European Business Ethics Network
British Accounting and Finance Association
European Accounting Association
Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR)
I am interested in accountability. It is such a wide and important subject that it can be studied and examined from many different angles and perspectives. All of the PhD projects described lower down on this webpage are essentially about exploring one or more aspects of accountability. The main vehicles that I use to research accountability are corporate governance, business ethics, corporate reporting and environmental sustainability. The AGES research group has active work ongoing in these and others besides.
Within this metanarrative, I have worked mainly in the following areas:
Social and environmental accounting and reporting
Voluntary disclosure materiality and theories
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CSR strategy
Business ethics and corporate philanthropy
I am also interested in research methods, and particularly in the epistemic challenges that accounting researchers encounter. In this context, I am interested in textual hermeneutics, content analysis and accounting narrative interrogation. I have a nascent interest in discourse analysis.
I am always interested in discussing research proposals in these areas with prospective PhD students and others. Contact via email to discuss if interested.
I spend a lot of my time working with my PhD students and helping them to plan their projects, analyse data and get work published. My own interests and current projects, however, are here.
Reporting on risk and intellectual capital. This is using data from PhD students Mara Rahman and Phorntep Rattanataipop and we are currently working up a few papers in this area. There are some interesting findings emerging and these will (hopefully) be published in the next year or so.
The historical use of reporting by asbestos companies. This is looking at the reporting of asbestos liabilities with AGES friends (see the AGES link above) Dr Sandy van der Laan and Dr Lee Moerman in Australia. This examines the reporting histories of James Hardie Ltd in Australia and T&N plc in the UK.
Accountability in UK corporate governance. PhD students Adillah Yusof and Mike Price and I are working on this with Professor Charles Harvey.
In June 2012, I organised the EBEN (European Business Ethics Network) annual research conference here at Newcastle University. It was attended by delegates from 23 countries. Arising from this, I am currently editing, with Professor Chris Cowton, a special edition of 'Business ethics: a European review' on research methods in business ethics research.
I am a member of the business school research committee, the PG research committee and the progressions and awards boards for doctoral qualifications. I also teach qualitative methods on the DBA degree.
I have been an external examiner for PhD examinations on several occasions: University of Sunderland (twice), University of Tasmania (twice), De Montfort University (twice), Kingston University, Northumbria University, Aberdeen University, Nottingham University, University of Bath, Open University, Latrobe University
Cornelia Beck (2007)
Mara Riduan Che Abdul Rahman (2013)
Joanne Swaffield (2012)
Susan Addison (2012)
Phorntep Rattanataipop (2013)
PhD: Juila Janfeshar Nobari (on social measurement). Juila is on an ESRC-CASE studentship in collaboration with partner organisation, Norcare Ltd. With Dr Jane Gibbon.
PhD: Ann-Marie Sidhu on the Clean Development Mechanism in Malaysia. Ann Marie was previously a staff member at Newcastle but now lives in KL and is an academic at Sunway University.
PhD. Adillah Yusof. Adillah is an academic in KL and is on a three year PhD programme exploring the accountabilities of non-exec directors chairing board committees in public companies.
PhD. Chris Soan. Chris is a lecturer in the business school and is examining accountability in employee-owned and co-operative organisations.
DBA Nicolas Rietsch (environmental strategies)
DBA: Ronan Brunton (environmental strategy and 'greenwashing')
For more information (and photographs), see the AGES research group link at the top of this page.
Member of editorial boards:
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Journal of Applied Accounting Research
Business Ethics: a European Review
April 2005. ACCA (£11,960). Materiality of voluntary disclosures in banks' annual reports. Analysts' perspectives explored through protocol analysis. Jointly with Richard Slack of Durham University.
March 2006. Nuffield Foundation (£5,000). Social responsibility strategy in mutual building societies. With Richard Slack of Durham University.
March 2009. ESRC CASE studentship. 'Accountability and social measurement for third sector supported housing organisations: critical insights and pragmatic approaches'. With Jane Gibbon. Value is about £60,000.
Jan 2010 for three years. EPSRC. 'Low carbon shipping: a systems approach'. £1.7 million in collaboration with marine engineering at Newcastle and universities of Hull, Strathclyde, UCL and Plymouth and a number of corporates.
October 2011 for three years. Santander (bank) plc for the Santander PhD studentship in sustainability. Value is £60,000 over three years. Victoria Pagan was appointed to this position.