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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Alan Lowe, Yesh Nama, Alice Bryer, Nihel Chabrak, Claire Dambrin, Ingrid Jeacle, Johnny Lind, Philippe Lorino, Keith Robson, Chiara Bottausci, Crawford Spence, Chris Carter and Ekaterina Svetlova

The purpose of this paper is to report the outcome of an interdisciplinary discussion on the concepts of profit and profitability and various ways in which we could…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the outcome of an interdisciplinary discussion on the concepts of profit and profitability and various ways in which we could potentially problematize these concepts. It is our hope that a much greater attention or reconsideration of the problematization of profit and related accounting numbers will be fostered in part by the exchanges we include here.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts an interdisciplinary discussion approach and brings into conversation ideas and views of several scholars on problematizing profit and profitability in various contexts and explores potential implications of such problematization.

Findings

Profit and profitability measures make invisible the collective endeavour of people who work hard (backstage) to achieve a desired profit level for a division and/or an organization. Profit tends to preclude the social process of debate around contradictions among the ends and means of collective activity. An inherent message that we can discern from our contributors is the typical failure of managers to appreciate the value of critical theory and interpretive research for them. Practitioners and positivist researchers seem to be so influenced by neo-liberal economic ideas that organizations are distrusted and at times reviled in their attachment to profit.

Research limitations/implications

Problematizing opens-up the potential for interesting and significant theoretical insights. A much greater pragmatic and theoretical reconsideration of profit and profitability will be fostered by the exchanges we include here.

Originality/value

In setting out a future research agenda, this paper fosters theoretical and methodological pluralism in the research community focussing on problematizing profit and profitability in various settings. The discussion perspectives offered in this paper provides not only a basis for further research in this critical area of discourse and regulation on the role and status of profit and profitability but also emancipatory potential for practitioners (to be reflective of their practices and their undesired consequences of such practices) whose overarching focus is on these accounting numbers.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 1233 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Penelope Van den Bussche and Claire Dambrin

This paper investigates online evaluation processes on peer-to-peer platforms to highlight how online peer evaluation enacts neoliberal subjects and collectives.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates online evaluation processes on peer-to-peer platforms to highlight how online peer evaluation enacts neoliberal subjects and collectives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses netnography (Kozinets, 2002) to study the online community of Airbnb. It is also based on 18 interviews, mostly with Airbnb users, and quantitative data about reviews.

Findings

Results indicate that peer-to-peer platforms constitute biopolitical infrastructures. They enact and consolidate narcissistic entrepreneurs of the self through evaluation processes and consolidating a for-show community. Specifically, three features make evaluation a powerful neoliberal agent. The object of evaluation shifts from the service to the user's own worth (1). The public nature of the evaluation (2) and symetrical accountability between the evaluator and the evaluatee (3) contribute to excessively positive reviews and this keeps the market fluid.

Social implications

This paper calls for problematization of the idea of sharing in the so-called “sharing economy”. What is shared on peer-to-peer platforms is the comfort of engaging with people like ourselves.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on online accounting by extending consideration of evaluation beyond the review process. It also stresses that trust in the evaluative infrastructure is fostered by narcissistic relationships between users, who come to use the platform as a mirror. The peer-to-peer context refreshes the our knowledge on evaluation in a corporate context by highlighting phenomena of standardized spontaneity and euphemized evaluation language. This allows evaluation processes to incorporate a market logic without having to fuel competition.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2008

Claire Dambrin and Caroline Lambert

Women in public accounting firms are still proportionally much fewer in number in the highest levels of the hierarchy than men, whereas recruitment at junior level tends…

Abstract

Purpose

Women in public accounting firms are still proportionally much fewer in number in the highest levels of the hierarchy than men, whereas recruitment at junior level tends to be increasingly gender‐balanced. This paper aims to analyse the relationships between the glass ceiling and motherhood. The mechanisms explaining the difficulties encountered by auditor mothers in their hierarchical progression within the Big Four in France are identified.

Design/methodology/approach

From 24 interviews with male and female auditors of various hierarchical levels, one seeks to reveal the specificity of the difficulties encountered by auditor mothers.

Findings

It is argued that, throughout their careers, they are confronted with a dilemma that often leads to their being excluded and excluding themselves from the group of “those who may become partners”. It is shown that public accounting firms place both implicit and explicit obstacles in their way, tied to a desire to neutralise the effects, deemed costly, of motherhood. Moreover, the expectations of the organisation and society as a whole conflict on many points and confront female auditors with a dilemma: how to be a good mother and have a bright career? It appears that women who want to better manage this dilemma shape working practices imposed on the whole team and implement tactics to adapt their work‐life balance (specialisation and lateral move to staff departments). This leads to individual trajectories that break out of the organisational model and account for the scarcity of women in the upper management levels in audit firms.

Originality/value

The paper gives voice to male auditors and shows that managing the professional life/private life dilemma is difficult for fathers as well as mothers, in the long term. Moreover, rather than thinking in terms of horizontal and vertical segregations, this paper invites one to question the concept of the glass ceiling and consider the construction of the scarcity of women in the accounting profession.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 August 2013

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2014

Kari Lukka and Eija Vinnari

The purpose of this paper is to distinguish two roles of theories, domain theory and method theory, and examine their relationships in management accounting research. Are…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to distinguish two roles of theories, domain theory and method theory, and examine their relationships in management accounting research. Are these two roles explicitly distinguished in management accounting studies? Can this be achieved in an unambiguous manner? Where do ambitions for theoretical contribution lie in management accounting studies that employ method theories?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a conceptual framework for analysing possible relationships between domain theories and method theories in studies and illustrate the theoretical arguments with examples from management accounting studies employing Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as their method theory.

Findings

There can be various types of relationships between domain theories and method theories, and the theoretical ambition of the analysed studies typically focused on domain theories. However, ambiguity can exist with regard to the location of a study's theoretical ambition. Both domain theories and method theories tend to be moving fields, and their interaction can add to this feature.

Research limitations/implications

The suggested conceptual clarification assists in the reconciliation of extreme perspectives that relate to management accounting and theory. It will also help researchers to systematically design their own work and evaluate that of others. An increased understanding of how a field develops as a result of interaction with method theories might perhaps alleviate concerns regarding the value of mobilizing the latter.

Originality/value

The analysis contributes to the on-going debate on the value and effects of employing method theories, or theoretical lenses, in management accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2010

Abstract

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2019

Ebba Sjögren and Karin Fernler

The paper problematizes previous research on accountingisation, where the role of accounting in determining the scope of professional work is understood in relation to a…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper problematizes previous research on accountingisation, where the role of accounting in determining the scope of professional work is understood in relation to a professional/economic dichotomy and a model of episodic change. The purpose of this paper is to investigate everyday professional work in established new public management (NPM) settings, and proposes a new conceptual framework to analyze the role of accounting therein. The aim is to enable future investigations into how, when and where a situated “bottom line” emerges, by conceptualizing professional work as a process of calculation.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative data from case studies of two tertiary level geriatric organizations using observations of 33 employees and four interviews. Data related to patient discharge, and the management of the discharge processes, were analyzed.

Findings

Few visible trade-offs between distinctly professional or economic considerations were observed. Rather, the qualification of patients’ status and evaluation of their dischargeability centered on debates over treatment time. Time therefore operated as a situated “bottom line,” to which various other concerns were emergently linked in a process of calculation. Professional practitioners seldom explicitly evoke accounting concepts and technologies, but these were implicated in the ongoing translation of each patient into something temporarily stable, calculable and thus actionable for the professionals involved in their care. The study’s findings have implications for the conceptual understanding of professional work in established NPM settings.

Research limitations/implications

Case study research is context-specific and the role of accounting in professional work will vary due to the professional groups and accounting technologies involved.

Practical implications

The study’s findings have implications for how to influence professional behavior through interventions in the existing landscape of accounting technologies. The possibility to change behavior through the introduction or removal of individual accounting technologies is questioned.

Originality/value

To date, research on the role of accounting in determining the scope of professional work has assumed a professional/economic dichotomy and studied episodic change linked to accounting-oriented reforms. This paper analyses the role of accounting as an on-going process with emergent boundaries between professional and economic considerations.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 28 May 2021

John Millar

The fund management sector plays an important role in society. The sector exists in close proximity to the accounting profession and the concerns of the paper reflect…

Abstract

Purpose

The fund management sector plays an important role in society. The sector exists in close proximity to the accounting profession and the concerns of the paper reflect themes discussed by accounting scholars, particularly financialization, inequality and life within elite professional service organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an interpretive study of the fund management field based in the UK. It is based on 32 semi-structured interviews with individuals with personal experience of the field, combined with reflections from the researcher's own experience as a practitioner within the field.

Findings

The paper describes the backgrounds and motivations of individuals entering the field, the recruitment processes through which they are admitted, and the different strategies used to gain admission to the field. It explores the habitus of successful professionals in the field and the effects of this habitus.

Social implications

An important social implication of the paper is the problematization of the fund management industry's dislocation from broader society.

Originality/value

By identifying the different strategies employed by applicants from different backgrounds, it highlights the role of reflexive agency and the complicity between agent and field. Recognizing that professional fund management is organized as a game, it suggests that individuals are so committed to the game they know they are playing that they fail to realize that they are also drawn into a different game, namely the absorbing game of being a fund manager.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2015

Ivo De Loo, Stuart Cooper and Melina Manochin

This paper aims to clarify what ‘narrative analysis’ may entail when it is assumed that interview accounts can be treated as (collections of) narratives. What is…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to clarify what ‘narrative analysis’ may entail when it is assumed that interview accounts can be treated as (collections of) narratives. What is considered a narrative and how these may be analyzed is open to debate. After suggesting an approach of how to deal with narrative analysis, the authors critically discuss how far it might offer insights into a particular accounting case.

Design/methodology/approach

After having explained what the authors’ view on narrative analysis is, and how this is linked with the extant literature, the authors examine the socialisation processes of two early career accountants that have been articulated in an interview context.

Findings

The approach to narrative analysis set out in this paper could help to clarify how and why certain interpretations from an interview are generated by a researcher. The authors emphasise the importance of discussing a researcher’s process of discovery when an interpretive approach to research is adopted.

Research limitations/implications

The application of any method, and what a researcher thinks can be distilled from this, depends on the research outlook he/she has. As the authors adopt an interpretive approach to research in this paper, they acknowledge that the interpretations of narratives, and what they deem to be narratives, will be infused by their own perceptions.

Practical implications

The authors believe that the writing-up of qualitative research from an interpretive stance would benefit from an explicit acceptance of the equivocal nature of interpretation. The way in which they present and discuss the narrative analyses in this paper intends to bring this to the fore.

Originality/value

Whenever someone says he/she engages in narrative analysis, both the “narrative” and “analysis” part of “narrative analysis” need to be explicated. The authors believe that this only happens every so often. This paper puts forward an approach of how more clarity on this might be achieved by combining two frameworks in the extant literature, so that the transparency of the research is enhanced.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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