Michael Power

Michael Power
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Department of Accounting and Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR)

About

115
Publications
55,117
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
12,408
Citations
Introduction
Michael Power is Professor of Accounting at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Originally trained in philosophy of social sciences before qualifying as an accountant. Works on auditing, risk management, problems of internal control and governance, and on financial regulation. Draws upon organization theories to understand and explain the roles of accounting in economy and society. Currently working on audit trails and traceability.

Publications

Publications (115)
Article
This study develops a process model of how accounting may come to an end. Grounded in a longitudinal study of a risk culture survey, this model focuses on the dynamics that underpin the repetition of accounting practices, and sheds light on two boundary conditions of successful repetition and continuation which are in tension with each other. On th...
Article
Full-text available
This essay is a conversation between Shoshana Zuboff’s theory of surveillance capitalism, Mikkel Flyverbom’s conceptualization of the hyper-visibility afforded by digital architectures, and my own‘analog’ theory of accounting dynamics in the ‘audit society’. Drawing upon trends in accounting practice and research I develop a number of inflection po...
Article
Full-text available
This experimental essay constructs a conversation between systems thinking and financial reporting. First, general ideas of system and ecology are introduced and used to inform a review of three overlapping clusters of accounting research. Each of these clusters assumes and emphasises different system characteristics. Second, these characteristics...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
We live in an “audit society” in which performance accounting and auditing requirements continue to expand, despite widespread criticism by academics and practitioners alike. Macro-institutional theories are good at explaining why organizations adopt practices whose efficacy is dubious by appealing to the power of their legitimizing and symbolic pr...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
This sub-theme invites communications that examine contemporary organizing processes in this era of “riskification”, in which our risk society is pushed to its paroxysm. The pressing grand challenges of the 21st century, such as pandemics, climate change, geopolitical conflicts, social exclusion and looming ecological/societal collapse, exacerbate...
Poster
Full-text available
We are happy to announce our next sub-theme on risk, at the upcoming 37th EGOS Colloquium in Amsterdam, 2021: “Sub-theme 58: Organizing in an Era of Riskification”. This sub-theme invites communications that examine contemporary organizing processes in the era of “riskification”, in which our “risk society” is pushed to its paroxysm. The pressing...
Article
Risk has become a crucial part of organizing, affecting a wide range of organizations in all sectors. We identify, review and integrate diverse literatures relevant to organizing risk, building on an existing framework that describes how risk is organized in three ‘modes’ – prospectively, in real-time, and retrospectively. We then identify three cr...
Book
The notion, technologies and organizational elaboration of traceability have become more prominent and more systematic in recent years in many different fields, notably food. This essay argues that traceability has many faces: it is a programmatic value embedded in norms and regulations; it is a frontier of technology development such as blockchain...
Chapter
Full-text available
Financial accounting necessarily depends on an entity assumption that shapes the way it recognizes and accounts for organizational exchanges with social environments. It thereby constructs boundaries and frames permeability in terms of what counts, is accounted for, as being inside and outside of the organization. Yet there are different possible e...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes the recent requirement for UK universities to account for the social and economic impact of their research, and asks whether this impact agenda may change the conduct of research itself. Three critical issues are highlighted: the epistemology of impact; the problem of quantifying qualities; and the likelihood of impact growin...
Book
Full-text available
Financial accounting necessarily depends on an entity assumption which shapes the way it recognises and accounts for organizational exchanges with social environments. It thereby constructs boundaries and frames permeability in terms of what counts, is accounted for, as being inside and outside of the organization. Yet there are different possible...
Article
Following the financial crisis, financial sector organizations faced increased pressures to reform their ‘risk cultures'. In this paper, we argue that the emergence of regulatory and managerial attention to risk culture is symptomatic of pressures to redefine the fundamental ends of financial institutions and to rebalance the pre-crisis emphasis on...
Article
Drawing on the case of accounting for the impact of research in UK universities, and building on key contributions to Accounting, Organizations and Society, the paper explores the conditions under which new accounting systems begin and the unfolding dynamics by which vague performance objects becoming operational. Accounting for research impact inv...
Book
This chapter explores exemplary moments of dissonance and innovation in accounting valuation. Examining the cases of value-added accounting, brand accounting, fair value accounting and impairment testing, this chapter traces debates and show that accounting valuation is ‘plastic’ due to both methodological variability and the different domains of w...
Article
‘Fraud risk’ is ontologically different from fraud. Fraud itself is a disruptive event; fraud risk can and must be governed. This essay draws on Foucault’s concept of an apparatus (dispositif) to explain the emergence of this difference. The analysis begins with a concrete case and explicates the history of fraud risk which flows through a specific...
Article
Full-text available
Review of 'Standards: recipes for reality' by Lawrence Busch (2011)
Article
This paper encourages scholars of management to pay attention to the mutually constitutive nature of accounting, organizing, and economizing. This means viewing accounting as much more than an instrumental and purely technical activity. We identify four key roles of accounting: first, territorializing, the recursive construction of the calculable s...
Chapter
This chapter explores the role of auditors in systems of corporate governance. The discussion refers to international comparisons, where the changing regulatory, methodological, and institutional dimensions of internal and external auditing are emphasized. The first section takes a look at auditing within a fluid and developing corporate governance...
Article
Full-text available
Michel Foucault was a gifted but elusive thinker with a wide and continuing impact across many academic fields. This article positions his work as a historical sociology of knowledge and evaluates its contribution. After reviewing Foucault’s central preoccupations as they emerge in his major works, the argument briefly considers their influence on...
Article
This essay shows how Todd LaPorte's work on reliability-seeking organizations contains insights for how we might understand the financial crisis of 2008-2009. In particular, the financial system was not perceived and described as critical infrastructure, there was a regulatory overemphasis on routine operational practices at the entity level, and t...
Article
This chapter argues that financial accounting has been frequently mischaracterized as a field of different national practices which have become increasingly and rapidly international in recent years. Rather, accounting norms have evolved over centuries in trans-regional commercial spaces between states, and are more loosely coupled to national 'cul...
Article
This paper addresses the question of how and why the use of fair values in accounting acquired significance prior to 2007 despite widespread opposition. An answer is suggested in terms of four mutually supporting conditions of possibility which gave the proponents of fair value institutional support and strength which their opponents lacked. First,...
Article
This essay challenges core elements of enterprise risk management (ERM) and suggests that an impoverished conception of 'risk appetite' is part of the 'intellectual failure' at the heart of the financial crisis. Regulators, senior management and boards must understand risk appetite more as the consequence of a dynamic organizational process involvi...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that it is useful to regard `reputational risk' as a pervasive logic of organizing and organizational attention. First, we suggest that the risk management agenda has expanded from its roots in technical analysis to become a cornerstone of good governance and responsible actorhood. We illustrate this claim in the context of Englis...
Article
This article revisits the main elements of the theory of the audit explosion, critically addressing the extent to which its claims have relevance beyond the UK context. The argument begins with the traditional model of auditing, against which the transformations implied by the audit explosion theory can be evaluated. This is followed by a broad, an...
Chapter
A challenging analysis of the impact of a new Total Quality Management (TQM) system on the basic research practices of a commercial laboratory demonstrates how the perceived Value incongruence’ between the tasks of the scientists and TQM can create distrust, anger and resistance (Sitkin/Stickel 1996). Indeed, the introduction of formal controls wit...
Chapter
Die Produktion und Aushandlung von Konzepten, die Entwicklung von Klassifikationsrastern und die Herstellung von Blaupausen für „best practice“ sind wesentliche Ausgangspunkte von Praktiken der Steuerung, Regulierung und Intervention. Gleichzeitig konstituieren sie Themen gesellschaftlicher Diskurse, an denen eine Vielzahl von Akteuren mit untersch...
Article
In summary: reputation management can be regarded as a kind of technology of the corporate 'self', a mode of governance with its foundations in a marketing view of the world focused on organisational sensitivities and responsiveness to external pressures and constituencies. The critical ethical and empirical issue is whether such developments resul...
Book
Since the mid-1990s risk management has undergone a dramatic expansion in its reach and significance, being transformed from an aspect of management control to become a benchmark of good governance for banks, hospitals, schools, charities, and many other organizations. Numerous standards for risk management practice have been produced by a variety...
Article
Full-text available
Enterprise risk management (ERM) has grown in significance since the mid-1990s to become a key resource in the conceptualization and design of risk management systems. We argue that this emphasis is misplaced and contributes to the problem of a divide between analysis and action. ERM may be relevant for regulators and others in need of proof of goo...
Article
Full-text available
abstract Risk, regulation and practices of organizing are interrelated in a myriad of ways. Natural disasters, technical failures, and also processes of organizing are sources of risk to which organizations must respond and for which new managerial and regulatory practices are demanded. In this introduction we highlight three salient features of ri...
Article
‘Organizational encounters with risk range from errors and anomalies to outright disasters. This collection of essays addresses the varied ways in which modern organizations understand, process and deal with risk. Contributions by leading experts on risk management illustrate the complex organizational and social dimension of risk management, remin...
Book
In 1993 James Lam became chief risk officer (CRO) at the firm of GE Capital. It is widely accepted that Lam was the first to hold a formal role with that title, taking his lead from parallels between the position of the chief information officer and the management of organizational risk more generally (Lam 2000; Hanley 2002). The following decade s...
Article
Full-text available
Organizing and risking. Contemporary discussions of risk routinely point to the paradox of science and technology. On the one hand great advances have been made in health and welfare; on the other hand such advances also give rise to new problems and vulnerabilities, e.g. the benefits of increased longevity in Western societies have given rise to d...
Article
Full-text available
Until the ‘Basel 2’ reforms to banking supervision, operational risk was largely a residual category for risks and uncertainties which were difficult to quantify, insure and manage in traditional ways. This paper examines the rapid emergence of operational risk from this low epistemic status to its institutionalization as a key component of global...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Book
L'audit est un procédé ancien, dont le fondement est simple : dès lors qu'une personne confie des ressources à une autre, celle-ci se voit dans l'obligation, juridique ou morale, de justifier ses actions, de rendre des comptes. Au cours des trente dernières années, l'audit a connu un essor considérable, donnant naissance à un secteur économique imp...
Article
Full-text available
I recently decided that there was no longer space to store 20 years worth of Accountancy and Accountancy Age. Prior to disposal I reviewed all the back issues for articles of particular note worth saving. In the course of this process, a number of things were striking. First, articles on financial reporting were conspicuous in the 1980s, and in the...
Article
This is a briefing by the author on his PD Leake lecture given at the Chartered Accountants’ hall earlier in the year. In it he examines the rise and rise of the risk industry and assesses the changes it has wrought in business life. He argues that unless the rise is halted we will see the retreat of socially valuable intelligence from the public d...
Article
This article explores fundamental issues in performance measurement systems broadly conceived. Three key moments or themes are identified. First, the foundations of measurement in counting practices, and their inherent reductionism, are considered. Second, the relations between measurement and technologies of monitoring and control, such as auditin...
Chapter
Focuses on the role of a specific interest group accounting policy-making: the academics. The author provides an international comparison of the role of academics in the accounting policy-making process in Germany and England, analysing the nature of their involvement, the degree of institutionalization of their voice, as well as their influence on...
Article
This essay reviews the central arguments of The Audit Society (Power, 1999) and re-considers the causes and consequences of the audit explosion. It is argued that many of the claims require further empirical support and that more research is needed, particularly to demonstrate that the audit explosion is not simply a UK phenomenon. Although the wor...
Article
This paper reviews the claim that there has been an audit explosion in recent years and seeks to refine the argument in terms of its institutional and behavioral effects and its underlying causes and consequences. A framework for greater comparative sensitivity is suggested, both in cross-national and cross-sectoral terms, which focuses on variatio...
Article
This essay discusses an important series of formative contributions to contextualist and critical research in auditing. A small number of relatively recent papers question rationalized accounts of the audit process and explore the complex ‘back stage’ of practice. These papers are interpreted as contributions to our understanding of the production...
Article
Zusammenfassung Der Aufsatz diskutiert Überlegungen zu Managementkontrollsystemen auf drei Feldern (Wirtschaftsprüfung, Qualitätssicherung, Risikomanagement) und stellt dar, was bei einem generischen System auf dem Spiel steht, das im Prinzip auf jede Organisation angewendet werden kann. Diese Systementwürfe spielen eine Rolle, indem sie Ordnungsvi...
Article
The opinions expressed in this paper are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD, the governments of its Member countries, the co-organisers, or the supporting organisations. This document cannot be quoted or cited without the express permission of the author(s).
Article
Full-text available
Demands on governments to regulate risks are increasing. The by-products of new developments in such areas as food technology, public transport systems, e-commerce and lifetime financial planning may be unintended dangers to health, safety, and physical and financial security. Add to this concerns with the global impact of financial instability and...
Article
Some accountants have begun to compete for work in the environmental auditing field and this essay describes the strategies by which they have attempted to represent themselves as relevant experts. A shift in regulatory style has stimulated experimentation with new instruments of control, including voluntary schemes for environmental auditing which...
Article
Since the early 1980s there has been an explosion of auditing activity in the United Kingdom and North America. In addition to financial audits there are now medical audits, technology audits, value for money audits, environmental audits, quality audits, teaching audits, and many others. Why has this happened? What does it mean when a society inves...
Article
This essay provides a critical review of Habermas' theory of law in Faktizität und Geltung against the backdrop of attempts to apply his work to the field of accounting. First, we analyse the core themes of this theory: the tension between facticity and validity from which Habermas' book takes its tide; the problem of the foundations of critical th...
Article
In contrast to official images of audit as a derived and neutral activity, this essay argues that audit is an active process of “making things auditable” which has two components: the negotiation of a legitimate and institutionally acceptable knowledge base; the creation of environments which are receptive to this knowledge base. These two componen...
Article
This essay argues that the methodological and normative commitments of audit judgement research constrain its ability to address the expressive and persuasive dimensions of audit work. In contrast, a sociology of audit technique is proposed in which the "technicality" of audits is theorised as a product of process of closure rather than as a self-e...
Article
The Argument This introductory essay describes some intellectual intersections between the history and sociology of science and the history and sociology of accounting. These intersections suggest a potential field of inquiry that concerns itself explicitly with science and economic calculation, a potential that is partly realized in the essays tha...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
analysis of post-audit society themes and impact of digitization on accounting, accountability and organizing
Project
Understanding organizational processes and problems of managing risk