Corporate Accountability and Big Data Analytics: Is Non-financial Disclosure a Missing Link?

This paper aims to identify, synthesise and critically examine the extant academic research on the relation between big data analytics (BDA), corporate accountability and non-financial disclosure (NFD) across several disciplines.

This paper uses a structured literature review methodology and applies “insight-critique-transformative redefinition” framework to interpret the findings, develop critique and formulate future research directions.

This paper identifies and critically examines 12 research themes across four macro categories. The insights presented in this paper indicate that the nature of the relationship between BDA and accountability depends on whether an organisation considers BDA as a value creation instrument or as a revenue generation source. This paper discusses how NFD can effectively increase corporate accountability for ethical, social and environmental consequences of BDA.

Practical implications
This paper presents the results of a structured literature review exploring the state-of-the-art of academic research on the relation between BDA, NFD and corporate accountability. This paper uses a systematic approach, to provide an exhaustive analysis of the phenomenon with rigorous and reproducible research criteria. This paper also presents a series of actionable insights of how corporate accountability for the use of big data and algorithmic decision-making can be enhanced.

Social implications
This paper discusses how NFD can reduce negative social and environmental impact stemming from the corporate use of BDA.

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first one to provide a comprehensive synthesis of academic literature, identify research gaps and outline a prospective research agenda on the implications of big data technologies for NFD and corporate accountability along social, environmental and ethical dimensions.