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Auditing and crisis management: The 2010 Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal


  • Andon, Paul
  • Free, Clinton


In this paper, we investigate the way in which auditing was mobilised during the 2010 Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, through a textual analysis of media coverage associated with the crisis. Using ‘t Hart’s power-symbolic analytical framework, we document the initial public framing of the auditing-based response as well as rhetorical strategies to mask, and counter, public criticisms of audits commissioned by the National Rugby League (NRL) and News Limited in the immediate aftermath of the salary cap breach announcement. We illustrate that these audits formed a key element of the crisis management response of both organisations. We also provide evidence of the way that the NRL sought to use the audit exercise to re-legitimate its ongoing monitoring and enforcement of the salary cap. In spite of various challenges to the scope, due process, timeliness, transparency, independence and resourcing of the audits, the audit programs and their associated narratives endured. The paper contributes to understanding the role of auditing in crisis management and how this role can be implicated in shaping the social construction and contestation of organisational crises.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:37:y:2012:i:3:p:131-154
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2012.01.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:eee:crpeac:v:21:y:2010:i:2:p:134-158 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Benston, George J. & Hartgraves, Al L., 2002. "Enron: what happened and what we can learn from it," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 105-127.
    3. Melanie Endo & Kellan Florio & John Gerber & Paul Sommers, 2003. "Does a salary cap improve competitive balance?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 31(4), pages 388-388, December.
    4. Radcliffe, Vaughan S., 1999. "Knowing efficiency: the enactment of efficiency in efficiency auditing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 333-362, May.
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    6. Radcliffe, Vaughan S., 1998. "Efficiency audit: An assembly of rationalities and programmes," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 377-410, May.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Jamal, Karim & Sunder, Shyam, 2011. "Is mandated independence necessary for audit quality?," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 284-292.
    10. 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.
    11. Bracewell Paul J & Forbes Don G. R. & Jowett Clint A. & Kitson Heath I. J., 2009. "Determining the Evenness of Domestic Sporting Competition Using a Generic Rating Engine," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, January.
    12. Paul Sommers & Andrew Barriger & John Sharpe & Brendan Sullivan, 2004. "Has a Salary Cap in the NFL Improved Competitive Balance?," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0402, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pavel Castka & Charles J. Corbett, 2016. "Governance of Eco-Labels: Expert Opinion and Media Coverage," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(2), pages 309-326, May.
    2. repec:eee:aosoci:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS

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