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

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  • Jeacle, Ingrid
  • Carter, Chris

Abstract

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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    1. repec:eee:touman:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:51-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Lugosi, Peter, 2016. "Socio-technological authentication," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 100-113.
    10. 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.
    11. Michael McAleer & Judit Oláh & József Popp, 2018. "Pros and cons of the impact factor in a rapidly changing digital world," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2018-06, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    12. repec:eee:aosoci:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:79-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:socmed:v:181:y:2017:i:c:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS

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