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Article
Publication date: 19 January 2021

Massimo Sargiacomo and Stephen P. Walker

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how public/private hybrid and ambiguous organizations played pivotal roles in a governmental programme of housing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how public/private hybrid and ambiguous organizations played pivotal roles in a governmental programme of housing reconstruction following a major earthquake in central Italy in 2009. Venturing beyond the boundaries of institutional isomorphism and using a Foucauldian approach, the longitudinal analysis seeks to illuminate accounting and performance challenges and provide insights to the calculative techniques associated with evacuee housing.

Design/methodology/approach

In “act 1” this paper investigates the role of a consortium created during the recovery stage of the disaster to construct temporary housing. In “act 2” attention shifts to consortia established for the reconstruction of buildings in devastated communities. The total observation period is 11 years. 31 semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 key-actors. A broad range of official documents was also consulted.

Findings

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake a comprehensive reporting system was established to facilitate the construction of 19 new towns for 15,000 evacuees. The mix of accountants, engineers and architects who developed the system and a building prototype evidences the assembly of diverse calculative techniques by different experts and the de-territorialization of subject disciplines. During reconstruction technologies of government included the introduction of standardised systems and vocabularies that homogenised administrative procedures among diverse experts.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides academics and policymakers with insights to accounting, performance management and accountability in hybrid organizations in the largely unexplored realm of post-disaster evacuee housing. Further studies are needed to examine the politics of calculation in similar contexts.

Originality/value

This paper fills a gap in the literature by exploring the role played by individual experts working for hybrid organizations. Further, by exploring actual practices over an extended period of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, the study highlights how experts intervened to solve problems at the meso-political level and at the micro-organizational level.

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: 24 April 2007

Garry D. Carnegie and Stephen P. Walker

The purpose of this paper is to extend the work of Carnegie and Walker and report the results of Part 2 of their study on household accounting in Australia during the…

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2598

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the work of Carnegie and Walker and report the results of Part 2 of their study on household accounting in Australia during the period from the 1820s to the 1960s.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts a microhistorical approach involving a detailed examination of actual accounting practices in the Australian home based on 18 sets of surviving household records identified as exemplars and supplemented by other sources which permit their contextualisation and interpretation.

Findings

The findings point to considerable variety in the accounting practices pursued by individuals and families. Household accounting in Australia was undertaken by both women and men of the middle and landed classes whose surviving household accounts were generally found to comprise one element of diverse and comprehensive personal record keeping systems. The findings indicate points of convergence and divergence in relation to the contemporary prescriptive literature and practice.

Originality/value

The paper reflects on the implications of the findings for the notion of the household as a unit of consumption as opposed to production, gender differences in accounting practice and financial responsibility, the relationship between changes in the life course and the commencement and cessation of household accounting, and the relationship between domestic accounting practice and social class.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2007

Garry D. Carnegie and Stephen P. Walker

Beyond the public world of work, the home provides an arena for examining accounting and gender in everyday life. This study aims to examine household accounting in…

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2842

Abstract

Purpose

Beyond the public world of work, the home provides an arena for examining accounting and gender in everyday life. This study aims to examine household accounting in Australia from the early nineteenth to around the mid‐twentieth century.

Design/methodology/approach

The study comprises two parts. The first part, as reported in this paper, presents evidence on household accounting as prescribed in the didactic literature in Australia, and evidence of actual accounting practices based on the examination of 76 sets of surviving Australian household records available in public repositories. The second part adopts a microhistorical approach involving the detailed scrutiny of 18 sets of accounting records and relevant biographical and family data on the household accountants involved.

Findings

The study indicates that household accounting was an instrument for restraining female consumption, particularly during times of crises, and that accounting in Australian homes focussed on maintaining records of routine transactions as opposed to the preparation of budgets and financial statements. Household accounting in Australia was performed by women and men. The surviving records examined suggest that while areas of financial responsibility were defined by gender there was little evidence of formalised hierarchical accountability between spouses as has been found to be the case in Britain.

Originality/value

The study extends knowledge of household accounting and gender. Most historical investigations on this subject draw on instructional literature. The current investigation also examines accounting practice in the home.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2008

Stephen P. Walker

This paper aims to make an assessment of the contribution made by accounting histories of women produced since 1992 and the current state of knowledge production in this…

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3290

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to make an assessment of the contribution made by accounting histories of women produced since 1992 and the current state of knowledge production in this subject area.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a review of published sources on accounting history and women's, gender and feminist history.

Findings

Whereas feminist historians and historians of gender boast substantial advances in research and transformative impacts on the wider discipline of history, similar momentum is less evident in accounting history. It is argued that over the past 15 years scholarship has remained substantially in the “recovery” phase, has not “defamiliarized” the sub‐field and is yet to engage with developments in feminist and gender historiography which offer regenerative potential.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues that sex and gender differentiation persist in both the past and the present and their study should feature large on the accounting history research agenda.

Originality/value

Core themes in feminist and gender history are explored with a view to identifying research questions for accounting historians. These themes include the oppression and subordination of women, the public‐private divide, restoring women to history, devising new periodisations, investigating socio‐cultural relations, and the construction of identities.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Stephen P. Walker and Ken Shackleton

Explores the genesis of a plan to erect a statutory “ring fence” around the accountancy profession in Britain during the 1960s. Focuses on two elemental problems in…

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1687

Abstract

Explores the genesis of a plan to erect a statutory “ring fence” around the accountancy profession in Britain during the 1960s. Focuses on two elemental problems in actualising a closure strategy: defining a basis for inclusion and exclusion; and, gaining the sanction of the state. Reveals that the complexities of devising an exclusionary code permitted opportunities for “inclusionary usurpation” by “outside” practitioner groups. Examines the quest by accountants to elicit government support for monopolisation during a period in which restrictive practices were outlawed and the professions were “under fire”. The achievement of de jure closure is shown to be dependent on the predilections of senior bureaucrats and the capacity of the profession to negotiate an “informal contract” with the state. Contends that the profession‐state interface primarily engages the apex of the organisational élite and mandrinate Civil Servants.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Stephen P. Walker

The study combines data from the electronic version of the transcribed census enumerators’ books and documentary sources to analyse the entry of women to bookkeeping in…

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1939

Abstract

The study combines data from the electronic version of the transcribed census enumerators’ books and documentary sources to analyse the entry of women to bookkeeping in late nineteenth century Britain. The paper explores the chronology of the feminisation of bookkeeping and presents a socio‐demographic profile and sectoral distribution of women bookkeepers. The study renders more visible the existence of female accounting labour on the boundaries of the private/public divide. It is shown that previous commentators have failed to identify the early sex‐typing of bookkeeping in the south of England and in retailing and distribution. The liberal feminist movement and the use of women as cheap or unremunerated labour are offered as explanations for the employment of female accounting functionaries.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2000

Stephen P. Walker and Sue Llewellyn

The paper explores the potentialities for accounting research on the household, individual and family. It is suggested that the home has not been construed in accounting…

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13308

Abstract

The paper explores the potentialities for accounting research on the household, individual and family. It is suggested that the home has not been construed in accounting as an arena worthy of academic study due to the preoccupation with concerns in the glamorised and professional world of the “public”. Yet, the social and behavioural implications of the practice of accounting in the home are potentially as profound as they are in institutions which inhabit the public domain. The paper presents a series of vignettes of the manner in which issues pertaining to accounting and accountability have engaged practitioners in other disciplines. It attempts to reveal interfaces between accountants and students of the home drawn from history, law, personal finance, economics and statistics, and sociology. Argues that the accounting academy has a significant contribution to make in the “explosion” of research activity on household‐family systems in their contemporary and historical perspectives. Such participation would also enrich our understanding of accounting as a social and institutional practice.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2008

Stephen P. Walker

This paper seeks to review the accounting history content of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) over the last 20 years and to identify distinctive…

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4978

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to review the accounting history content of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) over the last 20 years and to identify distinctive research themes therein. Observations and suggestions are offered in relation to future accounting history research.

Design/methodology/approach

The study comprises an analysis of the content of AAAJ and related literature.

Findings

Histories appearing in AAAJ have focused on technical issues, accounting in business organisations, cost and management accounting, accounting historiography, professionalisation, and socio‐cultural studies of accounting. The journal has been an important medium for the pursuit of interdisciplinarity, the promotion and practical application of new research methods, methodological pluralism, and searches for convergence in historical debates.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses the potential for advancing established research agendas in accounting history and identifies some new subjects for investigation by accounting historians.

Originality/value

It is suggested that, while methodological innovation and plurality are to be applauded, the sustained application of new approaches should also receive greater encouragement. Searches for rapprochement in accounting history debate run the risk of stultifying historical controversy. It is argued that histories of management accounting, gender, class, professionalisation are far from “complete” and should be reignited through the adoption of broader theoretical, temporal and spatial parameters. An emphasis on the performative aspects of accounting in socio‐cultural histories is encouraged, as is clearer recognition of the significance of contemporary understandings of the boundaries of accounting. Also emphasised is the desirability of more indigenously sensitised histories of the profession, greater engagement with the “literary turn”, and a renewed commitment to interdisciplinarity.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1996

Stephen P. Walker and Falconer Mitchell

Analyses the attempt by a trade association (the British Federation of Master Printers) to secure the universal adoption by its members of a uniform costing system. It was…

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1672

Abstract

Analyses the attempt by a trade association (the British Federation of Master Printers) to secure the universal adoption by its members of a uniform costing system. It was envisaged that the industry‐wide application of a prescribed costing solution would secure the socio‐economic advancement of employer printers and ensure an improvement in their power relative to unionized labour and unorganized customers. Universal adherence to the uniform costing system depended on the trade association changing the prevailing negative attitudes of employers towards the twin ideals of scientific costing and organization. In order to achieve this a concerted campaign of persuasive communication was undertaken. Reveals that propaganda was conducted by utilizing a variety of distribution media and by employing a range of propagandist devices. The limited success achieved in converting employers to the costing cause is considered to have been the result of message, audience and contextual effects. The persistence of traditional attitudes among printers, the effects of war and adverse macro‐economic conditions were particularly important factors which induced resistance to attitudinal and behavioural change. Concludes that the uniform costing movement and the history of costing in artisan‐craft‐based industries merit deeper investigation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Kerry Jacobs and Stephen P. Walker

This paper explores the issue of accounting and accountability in the spirituality and practices of an ecumenical Christian group – the Iona Community. Fundamental to the…

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2901

Abstract

This paper explores the issue of accounting and accountability in the spirituality and practices of an ecumenical Christian group – the Iona Community. Fundamental to the existence and operation of the Iona Community is their Rule, which requires all full‐members to account to each other for their use of money and time. This paper explores the development of that Rule and how it is actualised. It examines the accounting practices of individuals in the Community and the distinction between individualising and socialising accountabilities. Findings reported challenge the assumption that accounting has no role in a religious or sacred setting. The study also serves to illustrate that the distinction between individualising and socialising accountability is not clear. In the Iona Community structures of individualising accountability were subject to resistance. Structures of socialising accountability, while perceived as positive and empowering, had the potential to function as forms of internalised surveillance and domination.

Details

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

Keywords

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