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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Eva Buchinger

To explore the sociological concept of autopoiesis (N. Luhmann), investigate its interdisciplinary roots and demonstrate its practical relevance.

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the sociological concept of autopoiesis (N. Luhmann), investigate its interdisciplinary roots and demonstrate its practical relevance.

Design/methodology/approach

The biological concept of autopoiesis (H. Maturana/F. Varela) and the philosophical concept of meaning (E. Husserl) are first discussed with respect to their contribution to the development of the sociological concept of autopoiesis. The autopoietic mechanism of three different social systems is then described, and the practical relevance of the sociological concept of autopoiesis demonstrated using the example of governance.

Findings

The scientific positioning of the sociological approach to autopoiesis is two‐fold. On the one hand, it is firmly rooted in the scientific tradition and, on the other, its originality is determined by the adaptation and new combination of existing concepts. Although this adaptation‐combination process has provoked some criticism, the result does matter because it enriches the theoretical and empirical analysis which we use to explain the dynamics of modern societies.

Practical implications

The application of the sociological concept of autopoiesis to politics gives new insights into the opportunities and barriers of governance processes.

Originality/value

Positioning of the sociological concept of autopoiesis within the scientific tradition and its application (beyond metaphorical usage) as an analytical tool.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Stewart Raymond Lawrence, Vida Botes, Eva Collins and Juliet Roper

The purpose of this paper is to argue that it is time for change in the way the paper teach, theories and practice accounting. Traditional accounting practice constructs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that it is time for change in the way the paper teach, theories and practice accounting. Traditional accounting practice constructs the identity of the accountable entity as purely self-interested. Yet, there is evidence that firms do engage in broader activities. This paper aims to explain and illustrate that there are groups of firms that engage in socially responsible activities, yet their accounting systems still assume autopoietic behavior. Accounting should resonate with social expectations, but at present it does not.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature concerning theories of biological autopoiesis and social equivalents are reviewed. They are related to accounting practices, and to concepts of open and closed systems. The theories are related to survey results of socially responsible activities practiced by firms. National surveys undertaken in New Zealand at three-year intervals are the basis of the empirical content of the paper.

Findings

There is evidence that firms behave socially and environmentally responsibly. Yet accounting practice does not encourage such behaviour. Accounting practice has to be able to construct the identity of the accountable entity so that it pursues more than its own self-interest, and resonate with societal expectations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is unconventional. It challenges extant practice. Its theoretical content may not appeal to many traditional accountants.

Originality/value

The theory and empirics are original. The theory of autopoiesis is illustrated through survey evidence of business practices.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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