Results of HHL Master Thesis on Public Value Reporting Published in The Reporting Times
Prof. Timo Meynhardt and Anne Bäro from the Dr. Arend Oetker Chair of Business Psychology and Leadership together with HHL M.Sc. student Niclas Vieten published an article about Public Value Reporting in the 11th issue of “The Reporting Times” – a magazine of the Center for Corporate Reporting. Public Value Reporting is an innovative, multidimensional and holistic approach, which takes various basic human needs as its starting point and determines the company’s priorities. Public Value is based on the four dimensions task fulfillment, social cohesion, quality of life and morality. Furthermore, it is not only what a company does, but also how its products and services are perceived by society (“Public value is what the public values”).
In February and March 2017, a survey* was conducted to find out how reporting experts in companies assess the relevance of Public Value Reporting. 77 experts from the financial departments of several companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland evaluated the reporting needs of individual stakeholders. Most of the respondents agree that the value creation of a company cannot be measured by financial key figures only. Since decisions should always be based on holistic information, non-financial social value creation needs to be presented as well. That is where Public Value comes in. More than 80% of respondents consider current reporting approaches, such as CSR reports or sustainability reports, to be inadequate regarding the presentation of a company’s social value creation. According to the study, Public Value Reporting is highly relevant in practice, especially among younger people under the age of 35. Stakeholders have a strong interest in taking a holistic view of organizational value creation, which also considers social dimensions. The highest importance is attributed to a company’s task fulfillment, i.e. good work in its core business, followed by morality and quality of life. The strong interest in moral indicators shows that “soft” performance indicators are becoming increasingly important. It is not only corporate scandals that cause greater sensitivity, but also the changing demands of employees, customers, investors, politicians and the public.
The study results clearly indicate that experts perceive a demand for further innovations in reporting. It remains to be seen to what extent Public Value Reporting proves to be practicable. With increasing social orientation in reporting, the demands on data collection and interpretation are increasing as well. If companies actively guide this process, reporting will be a great opportunity to present organizational value creation in a different and perhaps even more convincing way to society.
*The complete study is available upon request from Niclas Vieten.
“I was really happy to get the chance to publish an article together with Prof. Timo Meynhardt and Anne Bäro about the topic of my master thesis. It is a great reward to see that a topic you put so much effort in, is not only the final step towards your graduation but also has a true impact in the business world. The close collaboration with the chair during the master thesis was truly the prerequisite for this success!”
Niclas Vieten, HHL full-time M.Sc. alumnus, Consultant at Monitor Deloitte Germany
Meynhardt, Timo; Bäro, Anne; Vieten, Niclas: Public Value Reporting: Der nächste Schritt. In: The Reporting Times, 2011 No. 11
Preview of the article (in German)