This study takes the position that the concept of fraud is socially constructed. Moreover, it asks why and how different understandings of fraud have emerged. Insights from the work of Lakoff and Johnson (1999, 2003; Lakoff, 2002, 2004, 2009) are used to analyze language revealing dominant worldviews and metaphors regarding fraud. The research method is a case study (Yin, 2014), and the analytical approach used parallels the one described in O’Dwyer (2004). The research setting is a report issued by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which provides a context to study different understandings of fraud due to the report’s divided nature. The analysis reveals three alternative worldviews, representing different assumptions about reality, that are at the root of the different understandings of fraud. These worldviews also lead to the usage of different conceptual metaphors which allow the commissioners to interpret facts in a manner that supports each worldview’s assumptions. The paper also concludes by providing a nuanced and critical examination of the results of the commission concerning its understanding of fraud.
I would like to thank Jesse Dillard, Judy Brown, Cheryl Lehman, Charles Cho, and the anonymous reviewer who provided instructional advice and support. I also appreciate the feedback that I received from the discussants and other participants at the 2017 Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference, 2015 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference, 2014 CSEAR North America Conference, and 2014 Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference. Lastly, several others provided insights that were instrumental in rounding out the discussion of the paper such as Mark Martinez and Paul Williams.
Sopt, J. (2020), "The Social Construction of Fraud: Views From the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission", Lehman, C.R. (Ed.) Resistance and Accountability (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 81-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1041-706020200000022005Download as .RIS
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