Can the process of triple bottom line reporting lead to enhanced sustainability? A case study with Murrumbidgee Irrigation Pty Ltd

Michael Searle Mitchell

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    This research focuses on the process of reporting at an organisational level and the increased use of the triple bottom line (TBL) concept. Most research on TBL reporting is based on content analysis of TBL reports. My focus is on the process of reporting: the experiences of the organisation producing the report, and how it uses the report. This focus on process helps to identify changes happening within the organisation that might not be apparent from looking at the report alone. These changes include the potential for iterative learning and capacity building to evolve, and whether organisations are able to identify practical ways to contribute to enhanced sustainability. An important outcome of the research has been the development of criteria for the formative evaluation of TBL reporting processes. Analysis is principally based on qualitative data developed through action research with Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI). The data set included semi-structured interviews conducted with MI Directors and staff from across all levels of the organisation and participant observation of meetings and workshops to develop MI's TBL reporting process over a two year period. The case study with MI was part of a broader project to develop guidelines for TBL reporting in the irrigation industry. The research therefore benefited from a high level of access to the organisation because of the collaborative nature of this project and the mutual interest in finding ways to practically improve MI's TBL reporting process. To take advantage of this access, I focused my investigation on the engagement of internal stakeholders and related outcomes. The analysis draws on organisational learning and stakeholder participation theories and assesses overall impacts in terms of the enhancement of sustainability based on assumptions about the nature of change required to achieve a sustainable future.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Curtis, Alan, Co-Supervisor, External person
    • Davidson, Penelope , Co-Supervisor, External person
    Award date01 Dec 2008
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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