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The making of the management accountant. Becoming the producer of truthful knowledge

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  • Lambert, Caroline

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  • Pezet, Eric

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    Abstract

    In this paper, the authors analyse the practices through which the management accountant is constructed as a knowing subject and becomes a producer of truthful knowledge. They draw on a case study of an automobile equipment manufacturer in which management accountants play a central role. The centrality of their role is evidenced, among other aspects, by their participation in online reverse auctions, wherein they commit themselves and their company to long-term projects. This commitment is constitutive of their identity as knowing subjects and organisational truth tellers. However, the “validity” of the truth they produce can only be assessed over time. They argue that, in this firm, monthly performance review meetings constitute “accounting trials of truth” during which peers and senior management crossexamine the accounting truth presented. Preparations for these trials of truth constitute a form of subjectivation whereby management accountants act on their ways of being in the firm and become the producers of truthful knowledge.

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    File URL: http://www.hec.fr/var/fre/storage/original/application/58887e6e6673f24cf6b9cf860eb70009.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HEC Paris in its series Les Cahiers de Recherche with number 932.

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    Length: 49 pages
    Date of creation: 15 Oct 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0932

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    Postal: HEC Paris, 78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex, France
    Web page: http://www.hec.fr/
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    Related research

    Keywords: management accountant; subjectivation; trials of truth; Foucault;

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    Cited by:
    1. Rowe, Casey & Shields, Michael D. & Birnberg, Jacob G., 2012. "Hardening soft accounting information: Games for planning organizational change," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 260-279.
    2. Raone, Julien & Jerman, Lambert, 2014. "Dompter la vérité dans l’organisation : La subjectivation comme production de l’animal confessant," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/13554, Paris Dauphine University.

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