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Article
Publication date: 18 February 2021

Danture Wickramasinghe, Christine Cooper and Chandana Alawattage

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the themes and aims of this Accounting, Auditing & Accountability (AAAJ) special issue and comments on the papers included in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the themes and aims of this Accounting, Auditing & Accountability (AAAJ) special issue and comments on the papers included in the issue. The paper provides a thematic outline along which the future researchers can undertake more empirical research examining how neoliberalism shapes, and shaped by, management accounting.

Design/methodology/approach

This entails a brief review of the previous critical accounting works that refer to liberalism and neoliberalism to identify and highlight the specific themes and trajectories of neoliberal implications of management accounting has been and can be explored. This is followed by a brief commentary on the papers the authors have included in this special issue; these commentaries explain how these papers capture various dimensions of enabling and enacting neoliberal governmentality.

Findings

The authors found that management accounting is now entering new territories beyond its conventional disciplinary enclosures of confinement, reconfiguring its functionalities to enable and enact a circulatory mode of neoliberal governmentality. These new functionalities then produce and reproduce entrepreneurial selves in myriad forms of social connections, networks and platforms within and beyond formal organizational settings, amid plethora of conducts, counter-conducts and resistances and new forms of identities and subjectivities.

Research limitations/implications

This review can be read in relation to the papers included in the special issue as the whole issue will inspire more ideas, frameworks and methodologies for further studies.

Originality/value

There is little research reviewing and commenting how management accounting now being enacted and enabled with new functionalities operating new territories and reconfiguring forms of governmentality. This paper inspires a new agenda on this project.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Christine Cooper and Daniela Senkl

Through a feminist lens, this study aims to provide insight into the ability of KPMG’s true value approach to include “the other” in the corporate value creation process…

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Abstract

Purpose

Through a feminist lens, this study aims to provide insight into the ability of KPMG’s true value approach to include “the other” in the corporate value creation process and into its potential to introduce a more “multiple” form of accounting. Additionally, this study seeks to set up the true value approach within its broader social, economic and political context.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses an interpretative analysis of KPMG’s document “A New Vision of Value; Connecting corporate and societal value creation”.

Findings

The KPMG document uses a language of fear of an external threat to promote its true value approach. It is suggested in this study that the concern of the KPMG approach is to include “the other” in their valuation model if it has an impact on corporate earnings. However, stakeholder actions or governmental regulations could be problematically attenuat by the document’s use of a language which suggests integration of “the other” and which might be perceived as socially progressive. It is argue that the increase in societal or environmental value set out in the KPMG document depends upon “excessive” commodity production which uses up scarce environmental resources.

Research limitations/implications

The implication of this research is that the daunting problems of inequality and environmental destruction cannot be solved by initiatives such as the KMPG true value technology.

Practical implications

The paper argues that a feminine management or reporting framework would not need to fulfil the aim of managing the other in the sense of measurement and control, as it is not based on the fear of loss. It would instead be an approach of giving and caring. A feminine alternative, however, is difficult to express in phallogo-centric language. The ability to bring about change requires the capacity to understand the prevalent symbolic order and the willingness to challenge it.

Social implications

The feminist perspective used in this paper to critically reflect on KPMG’s true value approach and the neo-liberal economy in which it is embedded aims to create public awareness of the prevalent phallocentric symbolic order. Recognising the invisible power of the symbolic order is essential to be able to see how the new “integrative” management and reporting approaches are only slight modifications of the existing management and reporting tools. The paper highlights that these “alternatives” create the impression that business is dealing with the greatest global threats and can potentially be used to silence critics.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to existing critiques of integrated or shared value approaches by taking a feminist view. Even though corporate claims of “win-win situations” (in which environmental degradation and inequality can be solved as business opportunities) have been critiqued in the literature, this study adopts a rather unusual perspective (in accounting). This approach argues that initiatives grounded in the phallogo-centric symbolic order are incapable of overcoming the current problems of our society; but they bear the risk of making the situation worse by creating a public impression that “someone is dealing appropriately with serious social and environmental issues”.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Theresa Hammond, Christine Cooper and Chris J. van Staden

The purpose of this paper is to examine the complex and shifting relationship between the Anglo American Corporation (Anglo) and the South African State (“the State”) as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the complex and shifting relationship between the Anglo American Corporation (Anglo) and the South African State (“the State”) as reflected in Anglo’s annual reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on research on the role of annual reports in ideological conflict. To examine the ongoing relationship between Anglo and the State, the authors read all the annual reports published by Anglo American from 1917 to 1975, looking for instances in which the corporation appeared to be attempting to address, criticise, compliment, or implore the State.

Findings

During the period under study, despite the apparent struggles between the South African State and Anglo American, the relationship between the two was primarily symbiotic. The symbolic confrontation engaged in by these two behemoths perpetuated the real, physical violence perpetrated on the oppressed workers. By appearing to be a liberal opponent of apartheid, Anglo was able to ensure continued investment in South Africa.

Social implications

The examination of decades’ worth of annual reports provides an example of how these supposedly neutral instruments were used to contest and sustain power. Thereby, Anglo could continue to exploit workers, reap enormous profits, and maintain a fiction of opposition to the oppressive State. The State also benefited from its support of Anglo, which provided a plurality of tax revenue and economic expansion during the period.

Originality/value

This paper provides insights into the ways the State and other institutions sustain each other in the pursuit of economic and political power in the face of visible and widely condemned injustices. Although they frequently contested each other’s primacy, both benefited while black South African miners suffered.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1992

Christine Cooper

Uses the work of various women writers but most importantly thewriting of Hélène Cixous, to question accounting′srole in society. Contends that accounting is masculine in…

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Abstract

Uses the work of various women writers but most importantly the writing of Hélène Cixous, to question accounting′s role in society. Contends that accounting is masculine in the sense that it embraces all of the Western cultural male attributes. Given the masculine nature of accounting, considers recent calls for accountants to become involved in accounting for the environment. Concludes that to try to account for environmental issues would be more damaging to the environment than the present situation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1992

Christine Cooper

Critiques article by Hammond and Oakes (1992). Emphasizes politicalimportance of discussion of feminist empiricism for accountancypractitioners of both sexes.

Abstract

Critiques article by Hammond and Oakes (1992). Emphasizes political importance of discussion of feminist empiricism for accountancy practitioners of both sexes.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

Christine Cooper and Marcia Annisette

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Abstract

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

Bradley Bowden and Peta Stevenson-Clarke

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in…

Abstract

Purpose

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in other business disciplines. However, in large part, the debates in accounting history and management history, have moved in parallel but separate universes. The purpose of this study is therefore one of exploring not only critical accounting understandings that are significant for management history but also one of highlighting conceptual flaws that are common to the postmodernist literature in both accounting and management history.

Design/methodology/approach

Foucault has been seminal to the critical traditions that have emerged in both accounting research and management history. In exploring the usage of Foucault’s ideas, this paper argues that an over-reliance on a set of Foucauldian concepts – governmentality, “disciplinary society,” neo-liberalism – that were never conceived with an eye to the problems of accounting and management has resulted in not only in the drawing of some very longbows from Foucault’s formulations but also misrepresentations of the French philosophers’ ideas.

Findings

Many, if not most, of the intellectual positions associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History – that knowledge is inherently subjective, that management involves exercising power at distance, that history is a social construct that is used to legitimate capitalism and management – were argued in the critical accounting literature long before Clark and Rowlinson’s (2004) oft cited call. Indeed, the “call” for a “New Accounting History” issued by Miller et al. (1991) played a remarkably similar role to that made by Clark and Rowlinson in management and organizational studies more than a decade later.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the marked similarities between the critical accounting literature, most particularly that related to the “New Accounting History” and that associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History in management and organizational studies.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2012

Christine Cooper and Joanne Johnston

The purpose of this paper is to critically reflect upon the use of the term accountability in the twenty‐first century and its role in “remaking the world in favour of the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically reflect upon the use of the term accountability in the twenty‐first century and its role in “remaking the world in favour of the most powerful” using the theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Lacan.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the notion of accountability by analyzing a case study of the hostile takeover of Manchester United Football Club by the Glazer family. The field of football presents an interesting arena in which to study accountability because of its extremely interested and active fans who search for information on every aspect of their clubs. Lacanian theory is drawn upon to add to understanding of the psychopathology which the demands for accountability and transparency place on individuals. Bourdieu's work on illusio is drawn upon to understand the motivations of the field of football.

Findings

The paper finds that calls to “hold the most powerful to account” in practice lack political force. Thus the case study demonstrates the common (mis)recognition of the term of accountability. The ability to correct the abuses of the most powerful requires power.

Originality/value

The conflation of Bourdieu and Lacan adds to understanding of accountability as an empty cipher with performative power.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Christine Cooper

To present a case for accounting and finance academics to have a more active social role.

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3341

Abstract

Purpose

To present a case for accounting and finance academics to have a more active social role.

Design/methodology/approach

A range of published works by “public intellectuals” on praxis is presented. Each theorist could be considered to be an eminent theoretician in their own right; what marks them out is that they have developed their theories by active engagement.

Findings

The economic and political interests of the world in which academics operate are perpetuated by the creation of a breed of intellectuals who encounter significant challenges not only to questioning the status quo but, perhaps more importantly, to venturing outside of the academy. Yet, arguably there has never been a more important time for academics to do just that. Academics are armed with the necessary theoretical and research skills to bring coherence to fledgling movements and to enable them to overcome the barriers created by the myths perpetuated to hamper social protest.

Originality/value

This paper offers practical and theoretical advice to enable and encourage accounting and finance academics to enrich their work by active engagement with the social problems of the time.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Dean Neu and Cameron Graham

This essay sets out to introduce the special issue.

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5314

Abstract

Purpose

This essay sets out to introduce the special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay discusses a variety of approaches to exploring the relationship between accounting and the public interest, and briefly reviews the contribution of the articles in the issue.

Findings

Not applicable.

Originality/value

The essay argues that accounting research can be opened up by problematizing the notion of the public interest, and by considering not only how accounting constitutes the public interest, but how various public interests constitute accounting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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