How to communicate and use accounting to ensure buy-in from stakeholders: lessons for organizations from governments’ COVID-19 strategies

Posted by Matteo Molinari - May 25, 2021

Happy to share a paper published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, and developed with Charl de  Villiers during my visiting period at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

Our paper aims at understanding how communication strategies and the use of numbers can ensure the buy-in and cooperation of stakeholders by drawing on legitimacy theory. 

We find that clear, consistent and credible communications, backed up by open access to the numerical data that underlie the decisions, ensure that these decisions are seen as legitimate, ensure that citizens/stakeholders feel leaders are accountable and believe in the necessity of measures taken and that they conform to the guidelines and rules. By contrast, the strategy of attempting to withhold information, blaming others, refusing to acknowledge that there are problems and refusing to address problems lead to non-conformance by citizens/stakeholders. Business leaders could apply these lessons to the management of crises in their organizations to ensure buy-in from employees and other stakeholders. Leaders and organizations that follow these communication strategies can emerge in a stronger position than before the crisis.

Please find the full paper here: 


Matteo Molinari (, University of Siena – Italy