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The audit society: opening up a meaningful epistemological agenda

Yves Gendron (École de comptabilité, Université Laval, Québec, Canada)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 22 February 2022




This paper aims to bring to the fore some conditions of possibility surrounding the audit society thesis that might have contributed to construct a sense of distinctiveness around it, thereby facilitating its spread and travel in the accounting research community (and beyond) as a meaningful epistemological agenda.


My argument is that the aura of distinctiveness surrounding the audit society thesis as a noteworthy epistemological agenda relates to outsider influences, concept plasticity, and in-depth persuasiveness. I discuss these three features of distinctiveness through excerpts from the book and my own interpretations, the whole analytic process being circumscribed by a disciplined imagination exercise (Weick, 1989).


While the webs of unpredictability surrounding social life necessarily influenced the travel of the audit society thesis in academia, it seems to me that the thesis’ journey may have been helped by the author’s outsider status, the malleability of the thesis’ key concepts, and the medium (as a book) through which the thesis was articulated (which provided a persuasive platform to underline and demonstrate the depth of the argument).


In an age where journal rankings abound, the audit society thesis constitutes a telling demonstration that one can have a meaningful impact in setting an epistemological agenda and consolidate her/his scholarly reputation through the publication of a scholarly book.



The author benefited from the comments made by one reviewer, Henri Guénin, Eldar Maksymov and Brendan O’Dwyer.


Gendron, Y. (2022), "The audit society: opening up a meaningful epistemological agenda", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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