The incidence and quality of graphs in annual reports: A South African analysis of graph disclosure in state-owned entities

Africa's Public Service Delivery and Performance Review

Field Value
Title The incidence and quality of graphs in annual reports: A South African analysis of graph disclosure in state-owned entities
Creator Kathrada, Anees Yasseen, Yaeesh Varachia, Zakiyyah
Subject — annual report; graph; impression management; measurement distortion; presentational enhancement; state-owned entities
Description Background: South African state-owned entities (SOEs) have become synonymous with issues such as poor service delivery and wasteful expenditure. State-owned entities are accountable to various stakeholders with the annual report viewed as an accountability mechanism. Given the different components of the annual report, this provides management with the opportunity to use different elements to present a better image of the SOE. Some elements that can be used to manipulate information are graphs.Aim: The purpose of this study was to analyse the use of graphs in the annual reports of SOEs and to conclude whether SOEs use graphs to manipulate information presented.Setting: The annual reports of the 277 SOEs included in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) schedules as of 31 March 2018 were analysed.Methods: This study followed a quantitative research method. Content analysis is used to identify impression management techniques used in the graphs of SOEs.Results: The findings indicate that 64% of SOEs present graphs in their annual reports, with non-financial graphs being disclosed more than financial graphs. Using the graph discrepancy index (GDI), it was found that SOEs tend to overstate data trends more than understating trends resulting in a better image of the SOE being presented. The presentational features of graphs were not used excessively to influence users.Conclusion: Graphs appear to be used as a form of impression management to manage users’ perceptions of SOEs. Given the impact of the annual report on users’ decision, the distortion of graph may impact the decisions taken.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2021-11-30
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/apsdpr.v9i1.513
Source Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review; Vol 9, No 1 (2021); 11 pages 2310-2152 2310-2195
Language eng
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Coverage — 2018 Annual reports of state owned entities
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Anees Kathrada, Yaeesh Yasseen, Zakiyyah Varachia