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The construction of auditability: MBA rankings and assurance in practice

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  • Free, Clinton
  • Salterio, Steven E.
  • Shearer, Teri
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    Abstract

    For much of the past decade, the audit profession has been enjoined to enter new and novel fields of assurance services. This call implies the importation of constructs from traditional attest financial audits into new domains to provide elevated levels of assurance for information-users and decision-makers. Little is presently known about the process by which audit scope, practices and communications about the work done are developed in these new fields. This paper attempts to shed light on these issues through an in-depth field study of KPMG's "audit" of the Financial Times MBA rankings. The audit project is argued to import legitimacy to data provided by International Business Schools as well as imbue a derived legitimacy to the Financial Times rankings. At an operational level, audit planning, procedures and communicated written conclusions emerge as a much more negotiated and adaptive practice than rhetoric might suggest.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 119-140

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:34:y:2009:i:1:p:119-140

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

    Related research

    Keywords: accounting; organizations; society;

    References

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    1. Ahrens, Thomas & Chapman, Christopher S., 2007. "Management accounting as practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 1-27.
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    3. Gendron, Yves & Cooper, David J. & Townley, Barbara, 2007. "The construction of auditing expertise in measuring government performance," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 101-129.
    4. Datar, Srikant M. & Feltham, Gerald A. & Hughes, John S., 1991. "The role of audits and audit quality in valuing new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-49, March.
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    6. Power, Michael, 1996. "Making things auditable," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 289-315.
    7. Cooper, David J. & Robson, Keith, 2006. "Accounting, professions and regulation: Locating the sites of professionalization," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(4-5), pages 415-444.
    8. Dichev, Ilia D, 1999. "How Good Are Business School Rankings?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(2), pages 201-13, April.
    9. Ronen, Joshua, 2002. "Policy reforms in the aftermath of accounting scandals," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4-5), pages 281-286.
    10. Power, Michael K., 2003. "Auditing and the production of legitimacy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 379-394, May.
    11. Radcliffe, Vaughan S., 1999. "Knowing efficiency: the enactment of efficiency in efficiency auditing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 333-362, May.
    12. Hopwood, Anthony G., 1983. "On trying to study accounting in the contexts in which it operates," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 287-305, May.
    13. Radcliffe, Vaughan S., 1998. "Efficiency audit: An assembly of rationalities and programmes," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 377-410, May.
    14. Chua, Wai Fong, 1995. "Experts, networks and inscriptions in the fabrication of accounting images: A story of the representation of three public hospitals," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 111-145.
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    Cited by:
    1. O'Dwyer, Brendan & Owen, David & Unerman, Jeffrey, 2011. "Seeking legitimacy for new assurance forms: The case of assurance on sustainability reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-52, January.
    2. Andon, Paul & Free, Clinton, 2012. "Auditing and crisis management: The 2010 Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 131-154.
    3. Pollock, Neil & D’Adderio, Luciana, 2012. "Give me a two-by-two matrix and I will create the market: Rankings, graphic visualisations and sociomateriality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 565-586.

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