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In TripAdvisor we trust: Rankings, calculative regimes and abstract systems

Listed author(s):
  • Jeacle, Ingrid
  • Carter, Chris
Registered author(s):

    A proliferation of rankings and league tables increasingly permeate everyday life. An objective of this paper is to explain the profusion of such rankings, in particular on-line user review rankings, in contemporary society and what this means for our understanding of the role of accounting. The online travel website TripAdvisor and its hotel ranking system is a prominent example of this new phenomenon. The site increasingly appears to play the role of trusted intermediary for the ‘independent traveller’ who spurns the services of the traditional travel agent in favour of making their own holiday arrangements. In this paper, we undertake netnographic research to consider the way in which TripAdvisor rankings engender trust. Drawing on the site’s own operational features together with an analysis of the traveller commentaries hosted within the site, we argue that the case of TripAdvisor is a powerful illustration of an internet mediated abstract system (Giddens, 1990, 1991) that draws on calculative practices to construct trust. In addition, we speculate as to the implications of the proliferation of such internet mediated expert systems, both on the accounting profession, and on future accounting research.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361368211000420
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 293-309

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:4:p:293-309
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2011.04.002
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

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    1. Ingrid Jeacle, 2009. "Accounting and everyday life: towards a cultural context for accounting research," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(3), pages 120-136, July.
    2. Colwyn Jones, T. & Dugdale, David, 2002. "The ABC bandwagon and the juggernaut of modernity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 121-163.
    3. Dekker, Henri C., 2004. "Control of inter-organizational relationships: evidence on appropriation concerns and coordination requirements," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 27-49, January.
    4. Susan V. Scott & Wanda J. Orlikowski, 2009. "'Getting the truth': exploring the material grounds of institutional dynamics in social media," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 26699, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Chris Carter & Margaret Grieco, 2000. "New Deals, No Wheels: Social Exclusion, Tele-options and Electronic Ontology," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 37(10), pages 1735-1748, September.
    6. Free, Clinton & Salterio, Steven E. & Shearer, Teri, 2009. "The construction of auditability: MBA rankings and assurance in practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 119-140, January.
    7. Peter Miller, 1998. "The margins of accounting," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 605-621.
    8. 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.
    9. Pentland, Brian T., 2000. "Will auditors take over the world? Program, technique and the verification of everything," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 307-312, April.
    10. Morton Deutsch, 1958. "Trust and suspicion," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 2(4), pages 265-279, December.
    11. Michael Barrett & Yves Gendron, 2006. "WebTrust and the “commercialistic auditor”: The unrealized vision of developing auditor trustworthiness in cyberspace," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(5), pages 631-662, September.
    12. 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.
    13. Tomkins, Cyril, 2001. "Interdependencies, trust and information in relationships, alliances and networks," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 161-191, March.
    14. Lee D. Parker, 2009. "Photo-elicitation: an ethno-historical accounting and management research prospect," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(7), pages 1111-1129, September.
    15. Vosselman, Ed & Meer-Kooistra, Jeltje van der, 2009. "Accounting for control and trust building in interfirm transactional relationships," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 267-283, February.
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