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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2021

Leanne J. Morrison and Alan Lowe

Using a dialogic approach to narrative analysis through the lens of fairytale, this paper explores the shared construction of corporate environmental stories. The analysis…

Abstract

Purpose

Using a dialogic approach to narrative analysis through the lens of fairytale, this paper explores the shared construction of corporate environmental stories. The analysis provided aims to reveal the narrative messaging which is implicit in corporate reporting, to contrast corporate and stakeholder narratives and to bring attention to the ubiquity of storytelling in corporate communications.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines a series of events in which a single case company plays the central role. The environmental section of the case company's sustainability report is examined through the lens of fairytale analysis. Next, two counter accounts are constructed which foreground multiple stakeholder accounts and retold as fairytales.

Findings

The dialogic nature of accounts plays a critical role in how stakeholders understand the environmental impacts of a company. Storytelling mechanisms have been used to shape the perspective and sympathies of the report reader in favour of the company. We use these same mechanisms to create two collective counter accounts which display different sympathies.

Research limitations/implications

This research reveals how the narrative nature of corporate reports may be used to fabricate a particular perspective through storytelling. By doing so, it challenges the authority of the version of events provided by the company and gives voice to collective counter accounts which are shared by and can be disseminated to other stakeholders.

Originality/value

This paper provides a unique perspective to understanding corporate environmental reporting and the stories shared by and with external stakeholders by drawing from a novel link between fairytale, storytelling and counter accounting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Margareta Bjurklo

The present paper aims to explore what type of information is useful for managers and employees in understanding the company and the requirements for particular jobs…

Abstract

Purpose

The present paper aims to explore what type of information is useful for managers and employees in understanding the company and the requirements for particular jobs within the company.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal study was undertaken in a Swedish company. A number of narratives were collected with the help of asking for stories in the context of an interview, critical‐incident technique and recording of spontaneous storytelling.

Findings

The finding in present paper is that narrative accounting is a new way of looking at management accounting. Narrative accounting consists of visualisations and narratives emanating from within an organisation.

Research limitations/implications

The present paper explores an area were few studies have been conducted.

Practical implications

The usefulness of present paper is that practitioners may understand that there is a need for complements to traditional accounting in the context competence creation.

Originality/value

The research shows that narrative accounting is a new way of looking at management accounting.

Details

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1401-338X

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

John Francis McKernan and Katarzyna Kosmala MacLullich

This paper analyses what is seen as a crisis of authority in financial reporting. It considers the view that an element of authority may be restored to accounting through…

Abstract

This paper analyses what is seen as a crisis of authority in financial reporting. It considers the view that an element of authority may be restored to accounting through communicative reason. The paper argues that the justice‐oriented rationality of traditional, Habermasian, communicative ethics is incapable of providing a solid foundation for the re‐authorisation of financial reporting. The paper argues that a more adequate foundation might be found in an enlarged communicative ethics that allows space to the other of justice‐oriented reason. The inspiration for the enlargement is found in Ricoeur's analysis of narrative, his exploration of its role in the figuration of identity, and in his biblical hermeneutics which reveals the necessity of an active dialectic of love and justice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Brian A Rutherford

This paper reports the results of an interview programme designed to investigate the processes involved in the production of narrative accounting statements, and…

Abstract

This paper reports the results of an interview programme designed to investigate the processes involved in the production of narrative accounting statements, and specifically the Operating and Financial Review, with a view to identifying the effect such processes might have on the content and character of such statements. A range of features of the production process is identified with the potential to affect the content and character of statements, and thus to influence the relationship between the content and character of statements and the characteristics of the companies producing them, such as size, performance, risk and sector. The pattern of potential impacts is likely to be a complex one. It is suggested that preparers face a range of choices in the preparation of narrative financial statements that may be wider than some realise.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1998

Warwick Funnell

Traditional history has sought to provide narrative accounts of the past which can be accepted as factual, devoid of fictions and therefore true. This image has come under…

Abstract

Traditional history has sought to provide narrative accounts of the past which can be accepted as factual, devoid of fictions and therefore true. This image has come under strong attack from new historians who denounce the narrative as a literary convention which mixes fiction (myth) and fact rather than being a model of an extant, discoverable reality. The narrative is also accused of being the means of privileging some accounts of history and thereby enhancing the position of social élites. This paper rejects condemnation of the ability of narrative history to provide reliable renditions of accounting’s past and promotes the role of narrativity in the “new” accounting history. It is shown that new accounting history, whilst critical of the results of traditional accounting history, currently still finds merit in the narrative as both the form in which historical events occur and as a means of telling alternative stories or counternarratives.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 25 April 2014

Sara Delamont and Paul Atkinson

A great deal of contemporary research in education, and in the social sciences more generally, is conducted through interviews. Interview-derived accounts and narratives

Abstract

A great deal of contemporary research in education, and in the social sciences more generally, is conducted through interviews. Interview-derived accounts and narratives have been used as data for many decades. We argue that, despite their popularity and their long history, such data are not always subjected to rigorous analysis. Researchers too often treat interviews as sources of insight about informants’ experiences and feelings, but pay insufficient attention to the forms and functions of such accounts. We argue that they need to be approached through the analytic lens of accounting devices and narrative structures. We exemplify this approach through ‘academic’ narratives: scientists’ discovery accounts and accounts of doctoral supervision. We emphasise how such accounts need to be examined in terms of the discursive construction of reality. Such an approach is an important corrective to the selective reporting of ‘atrocity stories’ about postgraduate education.

Details

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research II
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-823-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Venancio Tauringana and Musa Mangena

This paper, for the first time, classifies narrative information into complementary and supplementary. For the purpose of the paper, complementary narrative information is…

Abstract

This paper, for the first time, classifies narrative information into complementary and supplementary. For the purpose of the paper, complementary narrative information is defined as that information which refers to specific numbers presented in the statutory accounts (profit and loss and balance sheet). Non‐specific narrative information is classified as supplementary. Having made the distinction and provided reasons for such a distinction the study investigates the extent of complementary narrative commentaries on numbers from the statutory accounts. The study also investigates which company‐specific characteristics are associated with the extent of complementary narrative commentaries. An index consisting of 46 items which must be reported in the statutory accounts was used to measure the extent of complementary narrative commentaries in the annual reports of 170 listed UK companies. The findings suggest that, on average, the companies comment on 39.9% of the numbers appearing in their statutory accounts. Using the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression model, the results indicate that company size, gearing, profitability, liquidity ratio, the presence of exceptional items, and substantial institutional investment are significantly associated with the extent of complementary narrative commentaries. However, auditor type, directors’ share ownership, and the proportion of non‐executive directors are not significantly associated with the extent of complementary narrative commentaries. The research has important implications for accounting regulators, users of annual reports and future research into the usefulness narrative information provided in annual reports.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 24 October 2008

Russell Craig and Joel Amernic

This paper is the third in a trilogy of papers to explore the use of accounting as a fundamental element in senior management's narrative regarding the privatization of a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is the third in a trilogy of papers to explore the use of accounting as a fundamental element in senior management's narrative regarding the privatization of a major transportation enterprise, Canadian National Railway (CN). The paper aims to examine how two accounting performance benchmarks (the operating ratio, and free cash flow) were deployed to help sustain a rhetoric of post‐privatization success. The aptness (and the danger) of accounting language in strategic narrative is highlighted.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the importance of senior management discourse in the aftermath of a privatization. A narrative perspective is adopted, in which an imagined future post‐privatization era initially articulated in accounting language is then told and re‐told as the post‐privatization years unfold. Accounting performance measures highlighted in the story of success of the privatization in the Annual Letters to Shareholders by the CEOs of CN in the ten years following privatization in 1995, and celebrated in the Annual Report, are examined critically.

Findings

The results emphasize the important features and role of accounting language and accounting‐based performance benchmark measures in the narrative construction of the success of a privatization by corporate leaders.

Research limitations/implications

Case studies possess the strength of specific instance detail and interpretation, and the ostensible weakness of interpretation of a sample of one. But such research can provide for a reframing of conceptual perspectives and stimulate additional efforts to interrogate the role of accounting language in events of major social change.

Practical implications

The paper strongly endorses the adoption of a critical analytical perspective by those affected by a major social change (such as a privatization) in which the role of accounting language is subtle, but nonetheless persuasive and enduring.

Originality/value

The paper examines a case study in which the narrative framing of success is made rhetorically potent by deploying accounting performance measures. The paper reinforces the view that accounting is not an innocent bystander in the political and narrative manoeuvrings associated with a privatization. Accounting does not axiomatically provide an objective measure of some underlying financial truth, but is part of an arsenal of rhetoric to achieve political ends.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 21 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Alex C. Yen, Tracey J. Riley and Peiyu Liao

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether investor reactions to accounting narratives are uniform across cultures or if there are predictable systematic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether investor reactions to accounting narratives are uniform across cultures or if there are predictable systematic culture-based differences, particularly for investors from interdependent cultures, such as in Asia.

Design/methodology/approach

This research paper builds on the experiment conducted in Riley et al. (2014) by collecting data from investors from interdependent cultures and comparing their investment judgments to the “baseline” judgments of the investors from Riley et al. (2014).

Findings

In comparing independent and interdependent culture investors, a culture by construal interaction is observed. Whereas the independent culture investors in Riley et al. (2014) made less favorable investment judgments of a company with a concretely (vs abstractly) written negative narrative, this effect is attenuated for interdependent culture investors.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends the literature on accounting narratives by providing evidence that investors’ culture and linguistic characteristics of accounting narratives “interact,” suggesting that future studies in this area should account for culture as a variable. As for limitations, the independent and interdependent participant data were predominantly collected from different universities, so the differences observed may be due to institutional, not cultural differences. However, the populations are matched on key demographic measures.

Practical implications

The results have practical implications for investor relations professionals and international standard-setting bodies.

Originality/value

This study is believed to be the first to examine how investors’ culture may affect their reactions to the features of accounting narratives.

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Book part
Publication date: 4 September 2003

Hans Kjellberg and Per Andersson

Taking a set of studies about business action as the empirical starting-point, this paper looks at the various ways in which action is represented. The overall research…

Abstract

Taking a set of studies about business action as the empirical starting-point, this paper looks at the various ways in which action is represented. The overall research question can be stated as follows: how is business action reconstructed in our narratives? The texts analyzed are collected from research on exchange relationships in the field of marketing. To analyze how these texts depict business action, four narrative constructions are focused: space, time, actors, and plots. The categorization and analysis are summarized and followed by a set of concluding implications and suggestions for narrative practice aiming to reconstruct business action in the making.

Details

Evaluating Marketing Actions and Outcomes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-046-3

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