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Walking the talk? Supply chain accounting and trust among UK supermarkets and suppliers

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  • Free, Clinton

Abstract

This paper examines the way in which calculative practices are implicated in the constitution of trust in the UK retail sector. In the sector, where trust receives much attention in declarations of intent, the notion of category management - a framework for orchestrating collaborative buyer-supplier relations based on dualistic modes of information exchange - has become widely adopted. Drawing on Giddens' conceptualization of trust in abstract systems, it is argued that regimes of calculative practices embedded in the category management framework played an integral role in constituting system trust in category management and enabled its rapid diffusion across the sector. However, modes of supply chain accounting can also be deployed as a mechanism to further particular interests behind a veil of talk about trust. This paper presents a longitudinal field study where management accounting practices pursued under the banner of category management operated to dissemble a variety of self-interested actions and trust was deployed largely as a discursive resource which ultimately resulted in distrust and cynicism. This paper presents a framework for conceptualizing the relationship between accounting and inter-organizational trust and provides insights into the way that accounting techniques such as open booking accounting and joint performance management introduced amid 'trust talk' can act to undermine trust in buyer-supplier relations.

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  • Free, Clinton, 2008. "Walking the talk? Supply chain accounting and trust among UK supermarkets and suppliers," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 629-662, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:33:y:2008:i:6:p:629-662
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    Cited by:

    1. Noel Harding & Mohammad I. Azim & Radzi Jidin & Janine P. Muir, 2016. "A Consideration of Literature on Trust and Distrust as they Relate to Auditor Professional Scepticism," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 26(3), pages 243-254, September.
    2. Hartmann, Frank & Slapnicar, Sergeja, 2009. "How formal performance evaluation affects trust between superior and subordinate managers," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 722-737, August.
    3. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2010. "Social capital and management control systems: A study of a non-government organization," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 737-756, November.
    4. Magnus Boström, 2015. "Between Monitoring and Trust: Commitment to Extended Upstream Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 239-255, September.
    5. Patsy Perry & Steve Wood & John Fernie, 2015. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Garment Sourcing Networks: Factory Management Perspectives on Ethical Trade in Sri Lanka," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 737-752, September.
    6. Neu, Dean & Everett, Jeff & Rahaman, Abu Shiraz & Martinez, Daniel, 2013. "Accounting and networks of corruption," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 505-524.
    7. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2013. "Performance measurement, modes of evaluation and the development of compromising accounts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. repec:eee:aosoci:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:32-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Spence, Laura J. & Rinaldi, Leonardo, 2014. "Governmentality in accounting and accountability: A case study of embedding sustainability in a supply chain," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 433-452.
    10. Englund, Hans & Gerdin, Jonas & Burns, John, 2011. "25 Years of Giddens in accounting research: Achievements, limitations and the future," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 494-513.
    11. François-Régis Puyou & Eric Faÿ, 2015. "Cogs in the Wheel or Spanners in the Works? A Phenomenological Approach to the Difficulty and Meaning of Ethical Work for Financial Controllers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 128(4), pages 863-876, June.
    12. Mahama, Habib & Chua, Wai Fong, 2016. "A study of alliance dynamics, accounting and trust-as-practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 29-46.
    13. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2010. "Social capital and management control systems: a study of a non-government organization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 32980, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Peter Horton & Steve A. Banwart & Dan Brockington & Garrett W. Brown & Richard Bruce & Duncan Cameron & Michelle Holdsworth & S. C. Lenny Koh & Jurriaan Ton & Peter Jackson, 2017. "An agenda for integrated system-wide interdisciplinary agri-food research," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(2), pages 195-210, April.
    15. Jeacle, Ingrid & Carter, Chris, 2011. "In TripAdvisor we trust: Rankings, calculative regimes and abstract systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 293-309.
    16. Maestrini, Vieri & Luzzini, Davide & Maccarrone, Paolo & Caniato, Federico, 2017. "Supply chain performance measurement systems: A systematic review and research agenda," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(PA), pages 299-315.

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