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Consultancy outputs and the purification of accounting technologies

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  • Christensen, Mark
  • Skærbæk, Peter
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    Abstract

    Consultancy is a phenomenon frequently referred to in the accounting literature. However, few studies have more intensively dealt with what consultancy activities and reports may mean in terms of stabilising accounting systems. In this article we provide detailed processual descriptions and characterizations of how consultancy outputs participate in the co-production of larger accounting systems in the public sector. From two case studies we demonstrate how consultancy companies become hired by change proponents to purify, i.e. how consultants can work to provide 'faith' to accounting systems and to settle controversies with sceptical and resisting groups that threaten to destabilize the innovations. By using Actor-Network Theory we demonstrate how consultancy outputs like consultancy project reports, seminars, briefings and the like are part of practices to cultivate social conflict. The article explains the forms of purification, their conditions and consequences and how they can be successful to stabilize accounting technologies.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 35 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (July)
    Pages: 524-545

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:35:y:2010:i:5:p:524-545

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

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    Cited by:
    1. 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, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 565-586.
    2. Boll, Karen, 2014. "Shady car dealings and taxing work practices: An ethnography of a tax audit process," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-19.
    3. Rowe, Casey & Shields, Michael D. & Birnberg, Jacob G., 2012. "Hardening soft accounting information: Games for planning organizational change," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 260-279.

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