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Book part
Publication date: 10 February 2015

Andrew Bowman, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Michael Moran and Karel Williams

This exploratory paper discusses the undemocratic agenda setting of elites in Britain and how it has changed politics within a form of capitalism where much is left…

Abstract

This exploratory paper discusses the undemocratic agenda setting of elites in Britain and how it has changed politics within a form of capitalism where much is left undisclosed in terms of mechanism and methods. It argues for a more radical exploratory strategy using C. Wright Mills’ understanding that what is left undisclosed is crucially important to elite existence and power, while recognising the limits on democratic accountability when debate, decision and action in complex capitalist societies can be frustrated or hijacked by small groups. Have British business elites, through their relation with political elites, used their power to constrain democratic citizenship? Our hypothesis is that the power of business elites is most likely conjuncturally specific and geographically bounded with distinct national differences. In the United Kingdom, the outcomes are often contingent and unstable as business elites try to manage democracy; moreover, the composition and organisation of business elites have changed through successive conjunctures.

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Elites on Trial
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1989

Karel Williams, John Williams and Colin Haslam

The case for stock reduction in manufacturing has been argued byengineers who emphasise the productive benefits. Western managementaccounting does not provide an adequate…

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522

Abstract

The case for stock reduction in manufacturing has been argued by engineers who emphasise the productive benefits. Western management accounting does not provide an adequate indication of the costs of holding stock. This article constructs a framework for identifying and measuring the financial benefits of stock reduction. Within this framework, the financial benefits of stock reduction in Japanese manufacturing in the 1960s are estimated and the productive preconditions for successful stock reduction are identified. The case of British manufacturing where stock levels have not been reduced is considered. Financial savings from stock reduction cannot be realised in Britain because the productive preconditions are not satisfied when output growth is slow and management has poor control over the production process.

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International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 9 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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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.

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal, Jean Shaoul and Karel Williams

Using the example of capital charging in UK hospitals, this paper shows how new public policy initiatives are justified through forms of persuasion without numbers and can…

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1262

Abstract

Using the example of capital charging in UK hospitals, this paper shows how new public policy initiatives are justified through forms of persuasion without numbers and can be challenged with empirics. A reading of official and academic texts shows how the official problem definition focuses on poor asset utilisation. Hospital accounts are then reworked to show that, although poor asset utilisation was never a major problem, the introduction of capital charges could disrupt service provision. The conclusion is that the operation of NHS hospitals should be understood in terms of distributive conflict, rather than inefficiency. Through practical demonstration, the authors of this article aim to encourage accounting researchers to use numbers to challenge public policy definitions.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2000

Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams

Explains how and why the household should, and could, be an object of analysis for a new social accounting. It shows that the household has been neglected in national…

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3010

Abstract

Explains how and why the household should, and could, be an object of analysis for a new social accounting. It shows that the household has been neglected in national income accounting, which generally tends to represent it as a black box. It also shows how the data from national income accounting can be reworked to demonstrate the importance of the household at macro and meso levels. The reworking shows that 84 per cent of GDP passes through the household just as, at the meso level, there are important differences between households in how they pool, spend and save income.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 10 February 2015

Abstract

Details

Elites on Trial
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5

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Book part
Publication date: 10 February 2015

Abstract

Details

Elites on Trial
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5

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Article
Publication date: 22 November 2011

Cristiano Busco and Robert W. Scapens

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature, roles and dynamics of change of management accounting systems (MAS), in processes of continuous organisational learning…

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5450

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature, roles and dynamics of change of management accounting systems (MAS), in processes of continuous organisational learning and transformation. By studying the interaction between the accounting (and finance) function and the implementation of a Six‐sigma initiative, as the engine for organisational change, the authors seek to uncover the potential of measurement‐based systems of management for aligning business processes with corporate strategies. Such systems sustain continuous processes of transformation by infusing organisational culture with financial and non‐financial metrics of accountability.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a longitudinal case study in which one of the authors had the opportunity to exercise what Schein called the clinical perspective; i.e. combining the role of researcher with that of helper‐consultant. There is mutual interdependence in the relationship between the authors' theoretical framework and the authors' longitudinal case study. While, on the one hand, the case research contributed to the search for an institutional explanation of the evidence experienced and collected, on the other hand, the empirical data are illuminated by the theoretical insights gained from that framework.

Findings

After first discussing cultural change, the authors rely both on the “clinical” position of one of the authors as researcher/helper‐consultant and on the insights provided by Schein's work on organisational culture and Giddens' structuration theory to develop an institutional framework for interpreting the ways in which routinised systems of accountability bind the ongoing processes of cultural transformation across time and space.

Research limitations/implications

Possible limitations are: the conceptualisation of organisational culture as a shared and institutional phenomenon does not take account of wider anthropological aspects (such as the influence of national culture); the role of helper‐consultant as well as researcher may have influenced some of the authors' interpretations; the authors' analysis does not consider macro‐economic variables; and only a small percentage of shop‐floor workers were interviewed.

Originality/value

The paper sheds light on the role of management accounting within organisational processes of transformation far beyond their mere visible enactment. As a result, the authors develop an institutional framework to interpret the linkages between the cognitive dynamics which characterise organisational culture (viewed as shared cognitive schemas) and the behavioural and structural modalities through which they are drawn upon and reproduced by organisational members.

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Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Joe Ravetz and Ian Douglas Miles

This paper aims to review the challenges of urban foresight via an analytical method: apply this to the city demonstrations on the UK Foresight Future of Cities: and…

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1044

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the challenges of urban foresight via an analytical method: apply this to the city demonstrations on the UK Foresight Future of Cities: and explore the implications for ways forward.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on the principles of co-evolutionary complex systems, a newly developed toolkit of “synergistic mapping and design”, and its application in a “synergy foresight” method.

Findings

The UK Foresight Future of Cities is work in progress, but some early lessons are emerging – the need for transparency in foresight method – and the wider context of strategic policy intelligence.

Practical implications

The paper has practical recommendations, and a set of propositions, (under active discussion in 2015), which are based on the analysis.

Originality/value

The paper aims to demonstrate an application of “synergy foresight” with wide benefits for cities and the communities within them.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

Thomas A. Karel

For the past twenty‐five years or so, the writings of George Orwell — especially his final novel 1984 — have been a popular topic for student research. From junior high…

Abstract

For the past twenty‐five years or so, the writings of George Orwell — especially his final novel 1984 — have been a popular topic for student research. From junior high through graduate school, interest in Orwell has been consistent. Book reports, term papers, and even seminars on Orwell are common‐place in the national curriculum. Now, as the year 1984 arrives, librarians at all levels — public, school, academic — must brace themselves for a year‐long onslaught of requests for biographical and critical material on Orwell.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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