Accounting Organizations and Society

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Print ISSN: 0361-3682
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This research explored the moderating effects of subordinate participation in decision making and subordinate job difficulty on their responses to different uses of control systems by their superiors. In a sample of managers from a moderately large U.S. organization, both of these factors were found to moderate the ways subordinates responded to the perceptions that their superiors used control systems for goal setting, evaluation, problem solving, and contingent reward allocations.The results of the study indicated that the use of control systems for contingent reward allocation produced defensive subordinate responses under all conditions, but also produced the functional response of effort when subordinate participation was low and job difficulty high. The use for goal setting appeared to result in functional responses when subordinate participation was high, and in dysfunctional responses when participation was low. The use for evaluation and the use for problem solving both seemed to be aspects of a collaborative developmental use of the control systems. This use pattern appeared to have primarily functional effects, although the results were more functional when the subordinate jobs were not difficult, and when they participated in decision making. Based on the results several propositions are formulated for future testing.
 
This study explores reductions in benefits that occurred coincident with the passage of Statement of Financial Accounting Standard 106 requiring companies to accrue a liability for unfunded retiree health benefits. Congressional hearings and the business press reveal two competing discursive constructions of the retiree health benefits crisis. The first portrayed them as moral obligations that firms were attempting to avoid, the second as unexpected liabilities threatening corporations. Drawing on the work of Skocpol (1992), Weber (1949, 1978) and Burawoy (1983, 1985), we argue that characterizing these benefits primarily as accounting liabilities reinforced the second construction, facilitating corporate efforts to roll back retiree health coverage.
 
One response of the imperial government in London to the Irish Famine (1845-1849) was to initiate a scheme of public works underpinned by relief payments based on task work. This policy was informed by a determination to improve the 'moral habits' of the native Irish in relation to work. To support the data collection and control systems necessary to operate this intervention, the imperial government recruited a large number of accountants charged with introducing a vast accounting apparatus to Ireland. The institutionalisation of accounting that this facilitated laid the basis for interventions by the imperial power intended to 'civilise' the native Gaelic population as well as recalcitrant Anglo-Irish landlords. This intervention is considered within the context of concepts of governmentality and cultural imperialism.
 
From 1854 to 1880 Scottish chartered accountants achieved a monopoly of practice founded on the unique acquisition of the credentials “CA”. After 1880 their economic domination was formally challenged by two organizations of aspirant professionals. This paper reveals that the chartered monopoly was challenged as being contrary to prevailing social and political philosophy and by employing a “critical” analysis of professional privilege. It is shown that the CA monopoly was publicly defended by assuming a “functionalist” interpretation of the role of professions in society and was protected with the assistance of superior resources, linkages with the legal profession and contemporary political circumstances.
 
The rise and fall of a system of unregulated voluntary financial disclosure are examined by reference to economic and social changes. Variations in disclosure are attributed to the social ownership of capital conditioned by redistributions of wealth occasioned by the trade cycle and the institutions of industrial relations. Conclusions suggest that voluntary disclosure is associated with participatory, democratic ownership structures. Conversely, secretive attitudes are fostered by the centralization of equity ownership around dominating interest groups and by institutionalized systems of collective bargaining.
 
This paper analyses the main features of a system of open corporate accountability to active working and middle class investors supported by an evolving capital market operating in late nineteenth century Lancashire. The economic causes and social consequences of the collapse of this system are documented and examined with special reference to the process of accounting change. Centralization of share ownership was associated with the rise of a clique of new investors skilled at mill flotation. This new group of shareholder-entrepreneurs is shown to be the instigator accounting manipulation. Social capital demanded accurate financial information. Co-operative governance allowed shareholders a temporarily effective means of achieving this.
 
British imperialism not only changed borders, it made the British model of accounting associations and the imaginary of ‘professional accounting men’ known to spaces far from the metropolis (mother state). Imperialism was thus integrative in this sense. In administrative terms, however, a very large, differentiated and spatially dispersed Empire became expensive. It could not be ruled uniformly or in detail and different governance structures emerged. In the settler colonies, relatively autonomous ‘self-government’ embodying variants of British precedents and institutions, provided a loose coupling of centre and periphery. The accounting associations that developed in this type of colony were, then, not compliant clones of the centre but hybrids reflecting the specificity of place and British accommodation of peripheral demands. The result was the emergence of an imperial accountancy arena. These empirics contribute to our understanding of the nineteenth century professionalisation of accounting as a cross-border phenomenon by showing how the strength of weak ties between parts of a periphery characterised by inter-colony differences (as well as similarities) imposed constraints on the imperial centre.
 
This paper seeks to contribute to a longstanding tradition in accounting research which attempts to understand accounting within its social and historical context. The topic of this historical narrative is the creation and role of accounting in the formation of the electricity industry in the US between 1882 until 1944. The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part we examine how early electrical engineers struggled to understand the nature and behavior of the costs of generating and distributing electricity at the turn of the 19th Century. In doing so, these engineers established a relationship between costs and the engineering concepts of load factor and diversity and developed pricing structures which would recover both standing (fixed) and running (variable) costs. In the second phase, we examine how this accounting knowledge was deployed by early "inventor entrepreneurs" and businessmen in their attempts to dominate the early electric markets in the US and how investor owned regulated utilities emerged out of these strategies as a uniquely North American institution. In the final phase, we examine how accounting became the center of intense conflict between regulatory commissions and investor owned utilities in the US court system - including the Supreme Court - as representatives of these entities vied with each other over the chart of accounts, allowable expenses, the valuation of assets and depreciation. Here we contend that utility accounting did not simply grow to reflect a regulatory process but rather worked to shape utility regulation in the US. In 1944 a legal ruling displaced the primacy of accounting in the regulatory process and shifted its focus from asset valuation to rate of return determination. The space once dominated by accountants was ceded to regulatory economists. After that, accounting became taken-for-granted and matter-of-fact.
 
Historical analyses of specific professionalization projects and of the profession-state axis have been suggested as possible remedies for the “unexciting routine” into which the sociology of the professions has recently slipped. Accordingly, this essay analyses an attempt by Victorian accountants to attain a Royal Charter from 1904 to 1906 and its antecedent world dating from 1885 to 1903. It tracks the shifting constraints upon, and opportunities available to key players in state agencies and accounting associations. It thereby accounts for the shifts in the aims and strategies of those, the intended and unintended consequences of their actions, and the ultimate outcome of the charter attempt. In doing so it questions the assumption of a tightly defined concept of occupational “monopoly” or “closure” associated with a stable set of strategic imperatives. It also questions the tight coupling of action, interest, and outcome implied by “crude” Marxian analyses, and supports the contention that “professions” are the dynamic outcome of the mutual interaction of “state” and “profession”.
 
This paper argues that Weber's class-status-party model enables an in-depth understanding of the cross-border professionalization projects of accountants. Analysis of the activities of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants (VIC) from 1886 to 1903 shows that (a) the concept of monopolistic closure is imprecise; and (b) its activities were significantly shaped by multiple and changing divisions within the association, between it and competing colonial and imperial associations, the actions of ‘autonomous’ state agencies and wider political and communal tensions. Specifically, imperial discourses and institutions, which mutated when transplanted from the metropolitan centre to the penal (then productive) periphery, were material.
 
Set in colonial Australia, this study examines the professionalisation trajectory of a group of accountants in Melbourne culminating in organisational fusion on the formation of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants, Victoria (IIAV) in 1886. The study portrays professionalisation as a dynamic process involving a diversity of “signals of movement” towards occupational ascendancy that arise in periods before as well as after the formation of occupational associations. It employs the prosopographical method of data collection to interrogate the occupational and commercial backgrounds of the 45 founders of the IIAV in the pre-1886 period and is also informed through the critical-conflict analytical framework. The findings reveal that intraprofessional rivalries fuelled by international relations of power and nationalist self-interests provided the impetus to organisational assembly in this case.
 
This paper examines the architectural history of Chartered Accountants' Hall, London, from the point of view of its use by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to confirm and enhance its professional status in the early phase of its existence. Drawing on sociology of the professions literature, the study links the hall with the emergence of the professional headquarters of the main legal and medical bodies on which the Institute of Chartered Accountants based much of its behaviour. A loose model for such buildings is utilized as a framework within which relevant aspects of the detailed history of Chartered Accountants' Hall are elaborated.
 
This essay focuses on the manner in which an enterprise's accounting practices may be affected by a complex of independent and disparate external factors interacting with internal forces to create a sustained dynamic of change within the organisation. As its object of enquiry, the French motor car manufacturer Renault is studied over a forty-year period immediately preceding the Second World War. The conditioning influences of scientific management and statistical information and their interplay with Renault's costing concerns are examined. The study suggests that accounting change at Renault was dependent on a complex set of relationships and preconditions and that the specificity of the company's accounting controls was tied to both contemporary and historically distant influences rather than to notions of functional requirements dictated by processes internal to the organisation. As such, accounting change is argued to have been determined by circumstance as opposed to essence.
 
Management accounting is commonly understood to be a set of techniques for collecting and processing useful facts about organisational life. The information obtained is viewed as an objective form of knowledge untaited by social values and ideology; the practitioners as technically skilled professionals whose political and social allegiances have no bearing on their practices. In this paper these views are brought into question through the “genealogical” method of looking in detail at one period in the history of accounting, examining the interplay between knowledge, techniques, institutions and occupational claims. In the period and place chosen — Britain during the First World War and the immediately following years, society was in a state of turmoil and this provides an ideal context for considering one part of the genealogy of management accounting.
 
While the accounting profession in the U.S. has claimed to be a moral or ethical body throughout the twentieth century, its moral schema and code of ethics have in fact undergone a number of changes. This paper argues that the codes of ethics (or professional conduct), and the discourses surrounding them, appeal to meta narratives of legitimation and that through this appeal the profession seeks to legitimize itself within the social realm. The paper explores two distinct periods: the turn of the century, during which time the first code was formulated, and the 1980s when the current code was constructed. We seek to demonstrate that the changes in the code and discourses are translations of both the political challenges to the legitimacy of accountants and a wider transformation in the culture of American society.
 
This paper argues that studies of female exploitation frequently pay too little attention to the broader social context; particularly alienation and crises in the development of late capitalism. This criticism applies with equal force to the domestic labor/housework studies and labor process studies and labor process studies where male domination is often advanced as the primary explanatory variable in accounting for female oppression. Even where labor process researchers have emphasized mediating affects on partiarchial influences (technology and control processes for instance; c.f. Milkman, Politics and Society, pp. 159–203, 1983), we argue that the broader context of alienated capitalist social relations is frequently understated.
 
This paper examines the literature on financial reporting to employees between 1919 and 1979. It finds that the level of publication interest has varied widely during the period as has the relative interest of accountant and non-accountant groups. Periods of heightened publication activity appear to repeatedly coexist with four major socioeconomic factors, and arguments that this coexistence is not coincidental are considered. Finally it is noted that the same reporting to employee issues are frequently recalled and re-examined; possible reasons for this are considered.
 
This article tries to show how the result of a process of social closure and the achievement of a professional project are heavily dependent on the cultural context in which they are embedded. The concepts of field and of capital developed by Pierre Bourdieu help to understand the failure, before the Second World War, of the project to institutionalise the accounting profession in France. The accountants’ inability to solidify hierarchies internal to the professional field and the unfavourable insertion of this field in the overall hierarchy of social fields will be used as key-arguments to account for this failure.
 
This paper explores the ways in which accounting, licensing legislation and the courts have intersected over time, shaping and reshaping the contours of the CPA's economic jurisdiction and thereby restricting and/or enhancing competition between CPAs and the uncertified. While much attention has focused on the use of legislation and favorable interpretations of these statutes as a means of obtaining and expanding exclusive areas of work, little work has considered the role of the courts as a forum in which to contest and thereby limit the expansion activities of CPAs. The courts have played an important role in deciding issues such as who can be called a CPA, who can be called an accountant and when can a CPA be called a CPA. In deciding these issues, the courts have relied upon shifting constitutional arguments to advance and curb the jurisdiction building activities of CPAs. Early arguments called upon notions of the freedom of contract to challenge legislatively imposed limits on who might perform accounting work. Such arguments were later supplemented and eventually supplanted by those based upon freedom of speech, a freedom only recently held to extend to commercial speech. These shifting arguments are traced in the paper which concludes with some observations about the changing significance of the CPA designation.
 
This paper undertakes a historical review of the use of design and designers in the annual reports of Burton PLC, against a backdrop of the firm's commercial history. It highlights a subordinate role for design from 1930 until the 1970s, when it was used increasingly to embellish the annual report. Design assumed a very significant role from 1984, when the firm's annual report was transformed into a corporate communications tool. The paper suggests that Burton was among the first British companies to reach this stage, and that it was some ten years behind the generality of U.S. corporations in this regard. Using Burton as an example, the study concludes by proposing that the turning of the annual report into a public relations document has latent disadvantages and by advocating that design briefs in this area should be differently focused.
 
During the period of total war and its aftermath, profound changes occurred in the socio-economic and political fabric of Britain. In the face of fundamental change and national crisis the multi-organized accountancy profession was perceived as being archaic and demands emerged for the reform of its institutions. The paper discusses the attempt to co-ordinate the profession during the 1940s in the context of the wartime discourse on reconstruction. The analysis is conducted within a paradigm appropriate to the period and locale of the subject: British corporatism. It is revealed that a peak organization to represent the profession before central government was successfully instituted in the form of a Co-ordinating Committee. However, an attempt by the Committee to unify the profession behind legislation to secure a legal monopoly of public practice failed due to: the inappropriateness of the constitutional structures of the participant organizations; their inability to subsume particularist agendas; and, a failure to comprehend the enhanced power of government and mandarin civil servants in the corporatist state. Despite its inability to achieve its principal objective of registration, the coordination movement resulted in structural changes to the British accountancy profession which have endured since the 1950s.
 
This paper studies the relationship between auditor human capital and audit firm survival. Specifically, the effects are investigated of the human capital of auditors on the survival chances of newly established audit firms. Human capital is analyzed both at the time of entry of a new audit firm and during the lifetime of an audit firm. The data set contains 1693 firms that entered into the Dutch audit market in the period 1930–1992. To analyze the data, the technique of event history analysis is applied. There are two key results of the study. First, a higher level of education of the firm's auditors, both at founding and during the lifetime of an audit firm, generally increases audit firm performance. Second, the effects of experience at founding and experience during the lifetime of an audit firm vary considerably. Higher levels of experience at founding have a positive influence on audit firm performance. However, higher levels of experience during the lifetime of an audit firm, i.e., the aging of the firm's auditors, have a negative effect on firm performance.
 
This article is a contribution to the study of the spread of management innovations, methods and rhetorics. It particularly concerns the influence of ideological and political factors, which have so far mostly escaped in-depth study. In particular, we seek to understand to what extent a critique of society developed by social reformers can be a source of inspiration for managers, leading them to change their practices and experiment with new devices. Relying on the framework of historical change in management practices developed by Boltanski and Chiapello [Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso (Translation of Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris: Gallimard, 1999)], we study the specific development of budgetary control in France, examined in the light of the general political and economic history of the 20th century. This framework simultaneously encompasses the dissemination of a new accounting practice, the transformation of capitalist institutions and mo des of regulation in a given period and country, and the programmatic discourses [Miller, P., & Rose, N. (1990). Governing economic life. Economy and Society, 19(1), 1–31] associated with the historical move.
 
This paper re-examines the debate by Adolf A. Berle and E. Merrick Dodd on corporate accountability. Berle argued that corporate managers should be solely responsible to shareholders whereas Dodd saw them as trustees for both shareholders and society. They concluded that in the absence of shareholder control, the only check on corporate management was the full disclosure of information. This became the basic philosophy of the American securities legislation that had far-reaching effects and consequences for financial reporting.
 
This study addresses the question: "How are external events interpreted by occupational elites and re-presented for the consumption of lay members?" Specifically, we examine the ways in which Canadian occupational elites used monthly editorials in the Canadian Chartered Accountant magazine (CCA) between 1936 and 1950 (CCA, 1936) to communicate with geographically-dispersed lay members. We propose that these editorials allowed occupational elites to interpret changes occurring in the broader political, economic and social spheres and to communicate the meaning of the changes to lay members. Our analysis highlights changes in the coverage and depiction of the topic of government as well as a more generalized shift from the discussion of broad philosophical issues to issues of techne over this fifteen year period. The analysis also examines how editorials are reflective of an occupational elite's view of a profession and their position in it. This analysis contributes to our understanding of the role and functioning of accounting associations during a pivotal period in the twentieth century. It also invites us to consider present day professional demographics, along with the roles played by professional publications, in enrolling lay members into the visions of the occupational elites.
 
It has recently been stated that innovations in management accounting have been the preserve of practitioners, and that these innovations which began in the nineteenth century had more or less halted by 1925 (Johnson, H. T. & Kaplan, R. S., Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1987)). The most significant exception to this neat model of accounting innovation is held to be the development of discounted cash flow (DCF) procedures as a tool for management in the 1950s. This exception is explained away as an aberration in an otherwise smooth process. It consists, so it is argued, of academics striving for relevance rather than practitioners innovating in the face of practical problems. This paper explores this supposedly aberrant moment of innovation from a different perspective to that of Johnson and Kaplan, and for a particular context. The boundaries of the processes of innovation are drawn differently and more widely, to include various agencies, arguments and mechanisms through which DCF techniques were promoted in the U.K. in the 1960s. The world of the practitioner or the academic is not accorded an a priori explanatory privilege, and the promotion of DCF techniques in the U.K. is interpreted as involving much more than “academics striving for relevance”. Four concepts are suggested as possible ways of posing further questions about the processes of accounting innovation: problematizations, programmes, translation, and action at a distance. The paper seeks to show how concerns about investment decisions within firms came to be posed in terms of a general problematization of economic growth, and how a translatability came to be established between programmes for improving economic growth, and the use of DCF techniques for individual investment decisions. Action at a distance is the term that is used to characterize the possibility of one entity becoming a centre capable of exerting influence over others through such mechanisms. In the context of a political culture which sought economic growth yet wished to avoid direct intervention in the decisions of private enterprise and the nationalized industries, these issues are argued to have attained a particular significance. DCF techniques made it possible for government to seek to act at a distance on the economy without intruding within the private sphere of managerial decisions. Considered together, and for the case of DCF in the U.K. in the 1960s, an examination of these processes is considered to significantly modify the counterposing of practitioners innovating within firms, versus academics striving for relevance. Accounting innovation is argued to occur “beyond the enterprise” as well as within it.
 
African Americans have always been severely under-represented among certified public accountants. After active exclusion for the first several decades of this century, in 1965 African Americans comprised only 0.1% of CPAs. Twenty-five years later, African Americans comprised close to 1% of CPAs, still far below their 12% representation in the population. This paper examines the accounting industry's response to the change in public expectations regarding equal employment opportunity that followed the civil rights movement. The study reveals that, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when support for equal opportunity was at its peak, the industry ended its complete exclusion and engaged in some visible efforts to recruit African Americans. However, even these minimal efforts waned with the decline in emphasis on fair employment in the 1980s.
 
This paper analyzes the political and professional battle over auditors' crime-controlling responsibilities in Sweden. The focus is on the discursive strategies of major actor-constellations during 1965–2000. The conclusion is that the duty enacted in 1999 to report suspicions of crime, like earlier attempts in this direction, was not a reaction to major frauds or scandals but a part of broader social-democratic policies during the period: to develop industrial democracy, to fight economic crime, and to improve economic markets.
 
The paper provides an analysis of the state of social reporting by major German companies in 1973. After reviewing the pressures for social reporting and the variety of mechanisms which exist for reporting, particular consideration is given to the extent of reporting on internal relations, research and development and external impacts.
 
This paper evaluates the research contributions of Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS) during the years 1976–1984. We begin by investigating whether AOS has achieved its research objectives as defined by its “aims and scope”. We then examine two major attributes of AOS articles, the foundation disciplines they draw upon and the research methods they employ. Next we use citation analysis to determine the impact AOS's research has had upon research published in the social sciences. Finally, we identify those AOS articles which have exerted the greatest impact on the social sciences.
 
Changes in public sector accounting in a number of OECD countries over the 1980s were central to the rise of the “New Public Management” (NPM) and its associated doctrines of public accountability and organizational best practice. This paper discusses the rise of NPM as an alternative to the tradition of public accountability embodied in progressive-era public administration ideas. It argues that, in spite of allegations of internationalization and the adoption of a new global paradigm in public management, there was considerable variation in the extent to which different OECD countries adopted NPM over the 1980s. It further argues that conventional explanations of the rise of NPM (“Englishness”, party political incumbency, economic performance record and government size) seem hard to sustain even from a relatively brief inspection of such cross-national data as are available, and that an explanation based on initial endowment may give us a different perspective on those changes.
 
Awareness of the importance of human information processing research to accounting issues has increased dramatically since 1977. As a result, this literature has expanded in volume and addresses a larger spectrum of accounting problems. Further, it incorporates a wider variety of theories and methodologies. This paper draws upon the framework provided by Libby and Lewis (1977) to synthesize and evaluate accounting research conducted since 1977 using the lens model, probablistic judgment, predecisional behavior, and cognitive style approaches. In addition, the impact of the research on practice and some directions for future research are discussed.
 
Both economists and sociologists in the last two decades have pointed to the variety of ways that markets require normative foundations and legitimation. In order to understand better how market morality is constructed through law, this paper examines how Mrs Thatcher's Conservative Government used the 1986 Insolvency Act to produce a reconstruction of market behavior. First, it championed privatization in the administration of bankruptcy and in corporate liquidation and reorganization. To do so required a clean-up of the “unacceptable face of capitalism.” It used the insolvency reforms to develop a moral code that distinguished among three types of commercial behavior — mistakes, recklessness, and criminal activity. Second, the Act attempted to “professionalize” some elements of business practice. It did so by developing codes that exposed reckless and criminal company directors to civil actions with strong punitive sanctions, including personal liability and disqualification from management. And third, the legislation created a new occupational monopoly of insolvency practitioners, which was charged with the monitoring of directors' behavior, and reporting recklesssness and the appearance of criminality to government enforcement agencies. The paper concludes that Mrs Thatcher's Government used the ideals and actuality of professionalization as an instrument to define and improve both market morality and efficiency. This linkage between professionalization and market rejuvenation further demonstrates how states may use professions as agents of economic surveillance and enforcers of commercial morality. It raises questions about the conditions under which states will exert their enormous leverage over licensing to compel professions to act as moral agents on the state's behalf.
 
The paper analyses the changing nature of professionalism through a study of the effects of a change in the regulatory context of the U.K. accounting profession. The emphasis is on how accountacy, as a professional project, is managed. Profesions are viewed as institutions whose direction and management is influenced by movements within and between a range of constituencies and practices. we focus on confluences of actions and ideas from a variety of constituencies, including accountants, with management of the profession being achieved through the interplay and negotiations between diverse groups. The specificity of the interplay leads to a heightened awareness of the mutability of contemporaneous professional arrangments, and emphasis their malleability. it offers insight into the apparently adventitous development of accountancy in modern society. Although we present management as a means to capture more general changes in the practices and frameworks of professions, rather than just regulatory change, our argument is developed around the Financial Services Act (1986). That legislation was ostensibility intended to regulate the conduct of investment business in Britain. Accountants became involved in legislation that at first seemed, at best, to be on the periphery of their practice. The implementation of the Act involved pro-acitve monitoring of members and firms. inspectors, acitng as the agents of professional bodies, were able to enter member's practices to confirm that accountants were able adequately to conduct business that, prior to the Act, they had been held to be “fit and proper” to conduct, by virtue of their professional affiliations. This in itself may be seen as a significant expansion of professional Institutes' regulatory roles, especially since this monitoring was undertaken on behalf of government. The expansion of the regulatory role of the Institute resulted from a confluence of, inter alia, government and platforms, the range of modern professional practice and concomitant difficulties of professional governance. The result is a re-moulding of the professional. We use these develpments to illustrate how professions may be thought in terms of management and how professions change.
 
This paper examines the 1988 Spanish Audit Law. In particular, it deals with the connecting of auditing to the Spanish state. Two central issues are addressed in the analysis. First, Spain as the research site offers an opportunity to consider the connecting of expertise to the state in a different geopolitical context from the advanced liberal democracy, which has typically characterized similar research endeavours. Second, the paper addresses the spatiotemporal specificity of arrangements between expertise and the state. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of “becoming” is employed to investigate the provisional and temporary quality of any such set of arrangements and their immediate potential for movement.
 
During the 1990s Greek auditors and branches of international accounting firms in Greece fought a veritable professional war over the jurisdiction of statutory auditing. This intra-professional conflict developed against a backdrop of profound changes in the socio-economic and political fabric of the country, along pro-liberal, free market lines. This paper looks at a particular episode of that conflict––an attempt by the indigenous auditors to regain the monopoly of practice they lost, following the `liberalisation' of the Greek auditing profession in 1992. The paper argues that Max Weber's theoretical work on history and social development can be applied in helping to understand complex processes of contemporary change in the accounting profession. The analysis of this case study posits that rationalisation and charisma play a major role in helping to effect historical change through their influence on class–status–party, the tripartite stratificatory structure of modern society. In these encounters, multifarious social, economic and political actors with overlapping or differing interests interact with one another. The end result is that historical development is read as a fluid process whose outcome appears uncertain, although certain trends may be discernible in the particular historical juncture examined in this case study.
 
The purpose of this study is to utilize prior research in US Congressional politics, the accounting/state relationship, and corporate political activity to analyze corporations' political activities during the development and passage of the United States' Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Our study provides evidence consistent with the notion that large corporations exercise considerable political power during the state's formulation of new tax accounting laws. These findings lead us to question the applicability of a strict pluralist model in accounting policy research and have implications for future research in corporate political activity, corporate tax accounting, and the political economy of accounting.
 
Managerial accounting is a product of its environment. Consequently, different forms of societal organizations will have differnet levels of sophistication in their accounting systems. This is evidenced by the accounting system of the Harmonists, a communistic religious society on the Indiana frontier (1814–1824). Whereas most of American society consisted of individual merchants, craftsmen and farmers, the Harmonists had an integrated economy with everyone working for the common welfare. The Harmony conglomerate necessitated a system with greater sophistication than those in other parts of America.
 
Top-cited authors
Dennis Patten
  • Illinois State University
David Cooper
  • University of Alberta
Peter Miller
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
Robin W. Roberts
  • University of Central Florida
Christopher Hood
  • University of Oxford