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Accounting Narratives and Impression Management

2013-04, Brennan, Niamh, Merkl-Davies, Doris M.

This chapter focuses on impression management in accounting communication. Impression management entails the construction of an impression by organisations with the intention to appeal to their audiences, including shareholders, stakeholders, the general public, and the media. If successful, it undermines the quality of financial reporting and capital misallocations may result. What is more, wider social and political consequences include unwarranted support by non-financial stakeholders or by society at large. Impression management is examined by reference to four perspectives: the economic, psychological, sociological, and critical. These variously conceptualise impression management as reporting bias, self-serving bias, symbolic management, and ideological bias.