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1 – 10 of 107
Article
Publication date: 9 October 2020

Lisa Baudot, Jesse Dillard and Nadra Pencle

Building on the research program of Dillard and Brown (2015) and Dillard and Vinnari (2019), specifically related to an “ethic of accountability,” this paper recognizes…

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the research program of Dillard and Brown (2015) and Dillard and Vinnari (2019), specifically related to an “ethic of accountability,” this paper recognizes accountability systems as key to how organizations conceptualize their responsibility to society. The objective is to explore how managers of hybrid organizations conceptualize responsibility and the role of accountability systems in their conceptualization.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper studies hybrid organizations that are for-profit entities with explicitly recognized non-economic imperatives. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with managers of organizations that pursue certification as a B-Corporation, often in conjunction with a legal designation as a benefit corporation.

Findings

Managers of the hybrid organizations evidenced a broader responsibility logic that extends beyond responsibility to shareholders. This pluralistic orientation and broader set of objectives are expressed in a set of certification standards that represent an accountability system that both enables and constrains the way responsibility is understood. The accountability system reflects a “felt” accountability to the “other” manifested, for example, as generational accountability, with the other (re)created relative to the certification standards.

Research limitations/implications

Certifications and standards represent accounting-based accountability systems that produce a type of accountability in which the certification becomes the overall objective nudging out efforts to take accountability-based accounting seriously (Dillard and Vinnari, 2019). At the same time, the hybrids under study, while not perfect exemplars, incline toward an ethic of accountability (Dillard and Brown, 2014) that moves them closer to accountability-based accounting.

Originality/value

The findings reveal perspectives of managers embedded in hybrid organizations, illustrating their experiences of responsibility and accountability systems in practice (Grossi et al., 2019). The insights can be extended to other hybrid contexts where accountability systems may be used to demonstrate multiple performance objectives. We also recognize the irony in the need for an organization to be required to attain a special license to operate in a more responsible manner.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 October 2020

Judy Brown and Jesse Dillard

The purpose of this paper is to present an expanded introduction of Jasanoff’s (2003, 2007) work on “technologies of humility” to the accounting literature and to show how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an expanded introduction of Jasanoff’s (2003, 2007) work on “technologies of humility” to the accounting literature and to show how it can be useful in developing critical dialogic accountings for non-financial matters.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on Jasanoff’s (2003, 2007) distinction between “technologies of hubris” and “technologies of humility”, this study extends prior research on critical dialogic accounting and accountability (CDAA) that seeks to “take pluralism seriously” (Brown, 2009; Dillard and Vinnari, 2019). This study shows how Jasanoff’s work facilitates constructing critical, reflexive approaches to accounting for non-financial matters consistent with agonistics-based CDAA.

Findings

Jasanoff’s four proposed focal points for developing new analytical tools for accounting for non-financial matters and promoting participatory governance – framing, vulnerability, distribution and learning – are argued to be useful in conceptualising possible CDAA technologies. These aspects are all currently ignored or downplayed in conventional approaches to accounting for non-financial matters, limiting accounting’s ability to promote more socially just and ecologically sustainable societies.

Originality/value

The authors introduce Jasanoff’s work on technologies of humility to show how CDAA, informed by Jasanoff’s proposed focal points, can help to expose controversial issues that powerful interests prefer to obscure, to surface the normative foundations of technocratic analytic methods, to address the need for plural perspectives and social learning and to bring all these aspects “into the dynamics of democratic debate” (Jasanoff, 2003, p. 240). As such, they provide criteria for constructing accounting technology consistent with agonistics-based CDAA.

Book part
Publication date: 27 October 2016

Diane H. Roberts

This paper explores the contribution of the AAA Symposium on Ethics Research in Accounting to fostering accounting ethics research. For a 17-year period, the contributors…

Abstract

This paper explores the contribution of the AAA Symposium on Ethics Research in Accounting to fostering accounting ethics research. For a 17-year period, the contributors, their schools of affiliation, and their research topics were analyzed to determine the extent of and trends in accounting ethics research. The research rankings of the contributing authors were examined in business ethics journals, top-40 accounting journals, and accounting education journals. Institutional rankings identify supportive places to do accounting ethics research. The impact of significant accounting scandals such as Enron and Madoff was examined and a financial scandal “bump” in paper presentations was found. Authors affiliated with Texas schools had papers following the state requirement of an ethics accounting course. A large amount of ethics education-related research was also presented at the Ethics Symposia. Overall the study results indicate that the Symposium with its AAA affiliation is a high-quality venue for paper presentation.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-973-2

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-377-4

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Judy Brown, Jesse Dillard and Trevor Hopper

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize work in the emerging field of how accounting and accountability can be reoriented to better promote pluralistic democracy which…

16350

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize work in the emerging field of how accounting and accountability can be reoriented to better promote pluralistic democracy which recognizes and addresses differentials in power, beliefs and desires of constituencies. An agenda for future research and engagement is outlined, drawing on this and insights from other papers in this special issue of the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ) aimed at taking multiple perspectives seriously.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews and synthesizes the central themes associated with accounting, accountants and accountability regimes in pluralistic societies, especially with respect to the research studies in this AAAJ special issue, and it identifies possibilities for future research and engagement.

Findings

Three central themes are identified: the challenges of achieving critical, pluralistic engagement in and through mainstream institutions; the possibilities of taking multiple perspectives seriously through decentred understandings of governance and democracy; and the value of an agonistic ethos of engagement in accounting. The articles in this issue contribute to these themes, albeit differently, and in combination with the extant social science literature reviewed here, open up pathways for future research and engagement.

Practical implications

This work seeks to encourage the development of pluralistic accounting and accountability systems drawing on conceptual and practice-based resources across disciplines and by considering the standpoints of diverse interested constituencies, including academics, policymakers, business leaders and social movements.

Originality/value

How accounting can reflect and enact pluralistic democracy, not least to involve civil society, and how problems related to power differentials and seemingly incompatible aims can be addressed has been largely neglected. This issue provides empirical, practical and theoretical material to advance further work in the area.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Sonja Gallhofer, Jim Haslam and Akira Yonekura

The purpose of this paper is to add to efforts to treat the relationship between accounting, democracy and emancipation more seriously, giving recognition to difference in…

7147

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to efforts to treat the relationship between accounting, democracy and emancipation more seriously, giving recognition to difference in this context. To open up space for emancipatory praxis vis-à-vis accounting, the authors articulate a delineation of accounting as a differentiated universal and emphasise the significance of an appreciation of accounting as contextually situated. The authors outline implications of a reading of new pragmatism for emancipatory praxis in relation to accounting that takes democracy and difference seriously.

Design/methodology/approach

Critical and analytical argument reflecting upon previous literature in the humanities and social sciences (e.g. Laclau and Mouffe, 2001) and in accounting (e.g. Gallhofer and Haslam, 2003; Bebbington et al., 2007; Brown, 2009, 2010; Blackburn et al., 2014; Brown and Dillard, 2013a, b; Dillard and Yuthas, 2013) to consider further accounting’s alignment to an emancipatory praxis taking democracy and difference seriously.

Findings

A vision and framing of emancipatory praxis vis-à-vis accounting is put forward as a contribution that the authors hope stimulates further discussion.

Originality/value

The authors extend and bolster previous literature seeking to align accounting and emancipation through further reflection upon new pragmatist perspectives on democracy and difference. In the articulations and emphases here, the authors make some particular contributions including notably the following. The accounting delineation, which includes appreciation of accounting as a differentiated universal, and a considered approach to appreciation of accounting as contextually situated help to open up further space for praxis vis-à-vis accounting. The authors offer a general outline of accounting’s positioning vis-à-vis a reading of a new pragmatist perspective on emancipatory praxis. The authors articulate the perspective in terms of key principles of design for emancipatory praxis vis-à-vis accounting: take seriously an accounting delineation freeing accounting from unnecessary constraints; engage with all accountings in accord with a principle of prioritisation; engage with accounting in a way appreciative of its properties, dimensions and contextual situatedness; engage more generally in a new pragmatist praxis. This adds support to and extends prior literature. The authors elaborate in this context how appreciation of a new pragmatist continuum thinking that helps to highlight and bring out emancipatory and repressive dimensions of accounting can properly inform interaction with existing as well as new envisaged accountings, including what the authors term here “official” accountings.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Jesse Dillard and Judy Brown

The purpose of this paper is to review the current research program in agonistic dialogic accounting and to reflect on future possibilities for broadening out and opening…

1453

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the current research program in agonistic dialogic accounting and to reflect on future possibilities for broadening out and opening up accounting and accountability systems, especially as they relate to social and environmental accounting (SEA).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors describe an ethic of accountability as a context for dialogue and debate intended to broaden out and open up new imaginings of accounting for democracy. The authors review the accounting literature addressing dialogic accounting and agonistics as the precursor of what has evolved into agonistic dialogic accounting. The authors discuss their work to date on agonistic pluralism and engagement, recognizing the necessity of linking the normative framework to an effective political program. The authors review prior studies applying science and technology studies that have addressed these issues.

Findings

The authors consider how the application of agonistic ideas might facilitate the development of multiple accountings that take pluralism seriously by addressing constituencies and perspectives often marginalized in both SEA and mainstream accounting. An ethic of accountability and science and technology studies are useful for stimulating dialogue and debate regarding democratic and civil society institutions as they relate to economic entities, especially corporations.

Practical implications

Agonistic dialogic accounting in conjunction with other disciplines such as science and technology studies can be used in formulating, implementing and evaluating policy for advancing a progressive social agenda.

Originality/value

A reflective view of the current work in agonistic dialogic accounting highlights considerations for further research regarding the possible interdisciplinary work particularly with science and technology studies in broadening out and opening up accounting and accountability systems as facilitators of progressive social agenda.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2009

Jesse Dillard

Schumacher recognized that we separate the economic system from natural and social systems at our peril. Following Schumacher's alternative “economics,” my purpose is to…

Abstract

Schumacher recognized that we separate the economic system from natural and social systems at our peril. Following Schumacher's alternative “economics,” my purpose is to understand economics differently by engaging alternative ways of perceiving and knowing. Can we conceive of an economics that embodies the requisite social and environmental values, and can the associated accountings hold the responsible actors justly accountable? I compare the premises and characteristics of Schumacher's Buddhist economics with the prevailing neoclassical formulations, illustrating the narrowness of the current perspective and highlighting the critical issues. I consider the Social and Environmental Accounting project and the extent to which it has been, and potentially will be, able to move accounting, business, and society toward a more holistic conceptualization of accounting and accountability. Assimilating the two economic perspectives in developing a more holistic and integrated accounting is offered as a path to consider on our journey toward an accounting “as if people mattered.”

Details

Extending Schumacher's Concept of Total Accounting and Accountability into the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-301-9

Article
Publication date: 27 August 2014

Judy Brown and Jesse Dillard

The purpose of this paper is to critically assess integrated reporting so as to “broaden out” and “open up” dialogue and debate about how accounting and reporting…

9485

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically assess integrated reporting so as to “broaden out” and “open up” dialogue and debate about how accounting and reporting standards might assist or obstruct efforts to foster sustainable business practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors link current debates about integrated reporting to prior research on the contested politics of social and environmental reporting, and critiques of the dominance of business case framings. The authors introduce research from science and technology studies that seeks to broaden out and open up appraisal methods and engagement processes in ways that highlight divergent framings and politically contentious issues, in an effort to develop empowering designs for sustainability. The authors demonstrate the strong resonance between this work and calls for the development of dialogic/polylogic accountings that take pluralism seriously by addressing constituencies and perspectives currently marginalized in mainstream accounting. The authors draw and build on both literatures to critically reflect on the International Integrated Reporting Council's (IIRC, 2011, 2012a, b, 2013a, b) advocacy of a business case approach to integrated reporting as an innovation that can contribute to sustainability transitions.

Findings

The authors argue that integrated reporting, as conceived by the IIRC, provides a very limited and one-sided approach to assessing and reporting on sustainability issues. While the business case framing on which it rests might assist in extending the range of phenomena accounted for in organizational reports, it remains an ideologically closed approach that is more likely to reinforce rather than encourage critical reflection on “business as usual” practices. Recognizing that the meaning and design of integrated reporting are still far from stabilized, the authors also illustrate more enabling possibilities aimed at identifying and engaging diverse socio-political perspectives.

Practical implications

Science and technology studies research on the need to broaden out and open up appraisal methods, together with proposals for dialogic/polylogic accountings, facilitates a critical, nuanced discussion of the value of integrated reporting as a change initiative that might foster transitions to more sustainable business practices.

Originality/value

The authors link ideas and findings from science and technology studies with literature on dialogic/polylogic accountings to engage current debates around the merits of integrated reporting as a change initiative that can contribute to sustainability. This paper advances understanding of the role of accounting in sustainability transitions in three main ways: first, it takes discussion of accounting change beyond the organizational level, where much professional and academic literature is currently focussed, and extends existing critiques of business case approaches to social and environmental reporting; second, it emphasizes the political and power-laden nature of appraisal processes, dimensions that are under-scrutinized in existing accounting literature; and third, it introduces a novel framework that enables evaluation of individual disclosure initiatives such as integrated reporting without losing sight of the big picture of sustainability challenges.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Harun Harun, Karen Van-Peursem and Ian R.C Eggleton

Drawing from an interest in the changing Indonesian political and regulatory history, the purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role that accounting…

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Abstract

Purpose

Drawing from an interest in the changing Indonesian political and regulatory history, the purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role that accounting reform can play in nurturing, or failing to nurture, a more dialogic form of accounting in a local Indonesian municipality.

Design/methodology/approach

To collect the data, the authors undertook a case study of a local municipality and drew from patterns found in Indonesia’s long colonial history. Data were acquired from official and publicly available documents and interviews with 29 key figures, including those involved in formulating and disseminating laws and also those affected by the accounting reforms from 1998 to 2009. Document collection and interviews were conducted at national and local levels.

Findings

This study shows that Indonesia has undertaken significant economic and political reforms for the intended purposes of fostering democracy, strengthening accountability, and creating transparency in relation to public sector practices. As part of these reforms, accrual accounting is now mandatory, independent audit is conducted, and disclosure is required by Government offices at central and local levels. Nonetheless, drawing from dialogic accounting principles, this study demonstrates the limitations of legislation and regulation in countering patterns that have long been laid down in history. Essentially, there is limited opportunity to question the elements of these reforms, and the study has also found that centralizing forces remain to serve vested interests. The root of the problem may lie in traditions of central control which have played out in how a dialogic form of accounting has failed to emerge from these important accounting reforms.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study should be understood from historical, political, and cultural backgrounds of the site of the study.

Practical implications

The implications of the findings should be taken into account by public sector policy makers, particularly in emerging economies – where political realities, economic, social, political, and cultural backgrounds set different historical patterns and result in unique circumstances that may tend to retain traditions of the past even under rules and regulations of the present.

Originality/value

A key contribution of this study is to show how the political traditions of a nation can permeate and divert the intent of, in this case, engaging a broader public in discourse about accounting reform in the public sector. In addition, this study also provides an understanding of public sector reform in the context of a diverse and unsettled nation which has been long subject to colonial, top-led, and military leadership. The findings demonstrate complexities and unintended outcomes that can emerge in public sector accounting reform and how, in this case, they appear to be influenced by historical traditions of centralized control.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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