Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Accounting Forum

For a Special Issue on

Developing and Measuring the 'S' (Social)

Manuscript deadline
15 January 2025

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Alessandro Ghio, Université Laval (Canada)
[email protected]

Tiphaine Jérôme, Université Grenoble Alpes (France)
[email protected]

Sedzani Musundwa, University of South Africa (South Africa)
[email protected]

Kathy Rao, University of South Australia (Australia)
[email protected]

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Developing and Measuring the 'S' (Social)

As part of its inaugural Conference, Accounting Forum invites submissions for a special issue on “Developing and Measuring the ‘S’ (Social)” to be published in late 2025. This special issue encourages research utilizing a range of qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies to explore the development and the measurement of the social aspect of accounting. Experimental, archival, survey-based, and interview-based research, as well as case studies and opinion pieces, are welcome.

The ‘S’ (social) construct is frequently marginalized, particularly in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related discussions that predominantly focus on the ‘E’ (Environmental) and ‘G’ (Governance). This dimension thus warrants comprehensive examination concerning both its representation in reporting and its integration into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and management control systems. Furthermore, exploration of the ‘S’ is relevant in multiple paradigms, is important to visions related to ESG studies, and is key to the ethical dimensions of data collection, and the identity of actors responsible for assessing the ‘S’. Topics can be as broad as the ‘S’ or narrowed down to specific aspects of the ‘S’, e.g., diversity, human rights, supplier relations, and cybersecurity.

Research Questions, Key Words, and Areas of Interest

The research questions addressed should aim to explore different dimensions of measuring the social aspect of accounting, including conceptual frameworks, ethical considerations, stakeholder perspectives, and the practical implications of social accounting on organizational dynamics. Although guidance is provided in the list below on possible topics, this list is not intended to be exhaustive:

  • Development of new social indicators

Beyond the usual suspects (employee turnover, percentage of female employees, etc.), what other indicators could and/or should be considered to capture the social dimension at the corporate level? How do these measures contribute to enhancing corporate transparency, ethical governance, and stakeholder value in today’s business environment?

  • Corporate vs individual

What are the similarities and differences between how companies and individuals account for social issues? How are accounting standards for social issues (e.g., employee benefits) relevant to companies and individuals? What are the perspectives and expectations of various stakeholders, including investors, employees, customers, and regulators, regarding the inclusion of social indicators in corporate reporting?

  • Issuance of regulatory standards

What are the different views on the social aspect in the standards/guidelines/frameworks issued (worldwide)? Is there convergence or divergence in regulatory initiatives (government and private self-regulation)?

  • Relevance across organizations of the social dimension

How does the public sector, or the third sector, measure the social dimension? What are the specific needs and measures for certain industries (or some organizations in that industry)? How do these expectations vary across regions of the world?

  • Accounting and impact

How does the measurement and disclosure of social performance in accounting influence organizational behavior, corporate culture, and strategic decision making? How can these impacts be quantified and analyzed within the broader context of CSR?

  • Post-Covid-19

What are the implications of Covid-19 for the rethinking of social indicators? What is the role of social accounting in assessing the social responsibility of organizations in responding to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis? How do these social disclosures help build and maintain stakeholder trust amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic? How have companies re-evaluated their social dimensions to meet the evolving expectations and needs of stakeholders during the pandemic?

  • Ethical dilemmas

How do organizations navigate the ethical considerations and challenges associated with collecting and reporting social data in their accounting practices? What role does the integration of ethical principles play in influencing the reliability and credibility of social accounting information?

The ‘S’ dimension might be considered at different levels as depicted in the following table:

From micro to macro Steps around indicators/KPIs Who measures

(from Antolín-López et al., 2016)

Who uses 
Activities/products Definition Academics  Investors
Individuals/employees Collection/preparation Investment reporting initiatives  Employees
Communities/groups Disclosure/reporting Multilateral organizations  Suppliers
Organizations/supply chains Use NGOs  Policy makers

Submission Instructions

This special issue offers TWO distinct channels for submissions.

Channel 1. Accounting Forum Conference – Special Issue Track

The inaugural Accounting Forum Conference, taking place at the University of South Australia in Adelaide from December 11-13, 2024, will feature a Special Track focused on the special issue.

  • Authors can submit papers for consideration in the Special Track of the Accounting Forum Conference through the Conference website by August 15, 2024.
  • Authors will be notified of acceptance to the dedicated track for the Special Issue by September 15, and receive additional feedback at the Conference on the suitability of their paper for the Special Issue.
  • Authors submitting to the Special Issue must submit the final version of their paper to Accounting Forum's Submission Portal by January 15, 2025.

Channel 2: Special Issue Submission

Authors NOT submitting their paper to the Accounting Forum Conference can submit directly through Accounting Forum's Submission Portal. Submissions will open on September 15, 2024 and close on January 15, 2025.

Editorial Policies

  • Papers can be submitted in English, French, and Italian. Review will be conducted in the language of submission. In case of conditional acceptance, the author(s) must provide a high quality version of the paper in English.
  • Please adhere to the journal’s instructions for authors, especially format and word limit.
  • The guest editors welcome enquiries and expressions of interest, which should be directed to any of the editors by e-mail.

Online Panel Workshop

To support authors in developing their submissions for the special issue, the guest editors will host online workshops in April 2024 (dates will be announced soon). The workshops aim to outline the special issue’s objectives and address queries regarding submission. Authors interested in the special issue are encouraged to join the workshops, however participation is optional and not a prerequisite for submission.

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