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Impression management: the case of inter-country financial graphs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
Issue number2
Volume9
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)159-183
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Previous literature on presentational impression management has not generally addressed the issue of whether certain countries are more likely to indulge in impression management than others. Two important forms of impression management (selectivity and measurement distortion) are investigated in the financial graphs of the corporate annual reports of 300 companies in Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. In particular, we examine (1) whether graphs of key performance variables (KPVs) (such as sales, earnings, earnings per share, and dividends per share) are more likely to be included when performance has increased rather than decreased, and (2) whether measurement distortion of KPV graphs are likely to give a more rather than a less favorable portrayal of company performance. In addition, we test the ability of the micro/macro classification of national accounting practices to explain differential national graphical reporting patterns. Some evidence is found of selectivity in graph usage (particularly in the U.S. and Australia, and for the earnings variable) and of measurement distortion (particularly in the U.S. and the Netherlands). The micro/macro classification does not adequately explain country differences, although there is some evidence that impression management is greater in those countries with strong capital markets.