The Value of Public Sector Annual Reports and Annual Reporting Awards as a Signal of Management Performance

Christine Ryan, Keitha Dunstan, Jannet Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Despite considerable diversity in Australian public sector organisations, annual reports have been promoted as an appropriate tool to discharge the accountability of all government agencies. Further, annual reporting competitions have been promoted as a means of ensuring the quality of those annual reports. The limited prior research which addresses these issues ignores the possibility that there may be a variation in the value of both the annual report and the competition depending on the type of public sector organization. This study applies institutional theory, informed by accountability theory, to understand the influence of stakeholders on the annual reporting practices and policies adopted by organisations. It focuses on the Queensland public sector and the Queensland Annual Reporting Award (QARA) and uses a series of case studies to examine the value of the annual report. Consistent with institutional theory, the results indicate that both the annual report and competition entry were used as legitimising tools. Further, cross sectional variation in the perceived value of the annual report and the entry into the annual reporting competition was found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalAccounting, Accountability and Performance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


Cite this