No such thing as … the “language” of business II

Russell Williams (Sunderland University Business School, St Peter’s Campus, Sunderland, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 1 April 1998


A nostrum of business is that accounting can be read as the language of business. However, for very good reasons the claims for it as such are weak, and whilst a strong case can be brought for its inability to provide a genuine and useful “audit” of the firm’s essence, the question that begs addressing is; “How, despite such a case, this nostrum prevails?” The answer this paper forwards lies in the metaphorical nature of any language, together with a path‐dependency in the selection of ideas, metaphors, analogies…. Although, one has to hope at the end the nostrum is defeated.



Williams, R. (1998), "No such thing as … the “language” of business II", Management Decision, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 198-203.

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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