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


  • Jeacle, Ingrid
  • Carter, Chris


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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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:4:p:293-309
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2011.04.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rowlinson, Michael & Harvey, Charles & Kelly, Aidan & Morris, Huw & Todeva, Emanuela, 2015. "Accounting for research quality: Research audits and the journal rankings debate," MPRA Paper 67613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Suddaby, Roy & Saxton, Gregory D. & Gunz, Sally, 2015. "Twittering change: The institutional work of domain change in accounting expertise," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 52-68.
    3. 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.
    4. Lugosi, Peter, 2016. "Socio-technological authentication," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 100-113.
    5. Ilan Kremer & Yishay Mansour & Motty Perry, 2014. "Implementing the "Wisdom of the Crowd"," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(5), pages 988-1012.
    6. repec:eee:touman:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:51-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Michael McAleer & Judit Olah & Jozsef Popp, 2018. "Pros and Cons of the Impact Factor in a Rapidly Changing Digital World," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-014/III, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Selena Aureli & Enrico Supino, 2015. "Web reputation and performance measurement systems in the hotel industry: An exploratory study in Italy," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(2), pages 41-64.
    9. Mehrpouya, Afshin & Samiolo, Rita, 2016. "Performance measurement in global governance: Ranking and the politics of variability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 12-31.
    10. repec:eee:crpeac:v:26:y:2015:i:c:p:2-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:socmed:v:181:y:2017:i:c:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
    13. repec:eee:crpeac:v:35:y:2016:i:c:p:13-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Pflueger, Dane, 2016. "Knowing patients: The customer survey and the changing margins of accounting in healthcare," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 17-33.
    15. repec:eee:crpeac:v:26:y:2015:i:c:p:168-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:aosoci:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:79-95 is not listed on IDEAS

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