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Accountability re‐examined: evidence from Hull House

Leslie S. Oakes (Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Joni J. Young (Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




The purpose of this paper is to re‐examine accountability in a concrete historical context from the perspective of pragmatism and feminist theory.


An archival case study of Hull House.


Both pragmatism and feminist theory of Benhabib provide new insight into alternative conceptions of accountability, conceptions at odds with the prevailing and dominant emphasis on quantitative measures of performance. Further, this paper suggests that this limited view severely narrows the understanding of organizational “success.”

Research limitations/implications

While this research serves to problematize notions of accountability further, it leaves the task of developing alternative practices to future researchers.


This paper contributes in two ways: first, there is a paucity of research linking pragmatism to the actual workings of concrete organizations. This paper begins to fill that gap. Second, this work draws the attention of accounting and other organizational researchers to the important role played by the settlement movement, and particularly Hull House, in the development of contemporary organizations.



Oakes, L.S. and Young, J.J. (2008), "Accountability re‐examined: evidence from Hull House", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 765-790.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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