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La formation de l'accountability en situations conflictuelles


  • Berland, Nicolas


  • Grisard, Claudine


This doctoral thesis examines Robert’s (1991) conceptualization of accountability in conflicting situations. In organizational contexts, individuals give account in two ways; at a distance, to show that their actions are aligned with the main goals of the company – hierarchical accountability -; in face-to-face situations, to provide explanations to people they meet - social accountability. First I study how accountability takes shape when an individual faces two antagonist demands for accountabilities towards the same act. Interviews were conducted with employees from CSR departments, whose mission is about providing an answer to social demands in the name of the company, while staying aligned with business principles. With the help of Foucaldian concepts of “Ethics” and “Moral” (1991), I show that employees interpret those two demands within their own norms and provide an answer that satisfies themselves first. This specific answer is rejected. Accountability is interrupted. In order to re-establish accountability, a community is created around that specific answer, gathering employees from various companies. This community provides a space to give accounts and confirms CSR managers are acting appropriately.Second, analysing ethnographic material, I try to understand how accountability takes shape when certain employees oppose the mission of their colleagues. Precisely, the discussion takes place regarding a product, which has been developed especially for poor rural populations, who are assimilated into the “underdeveloped world” and with which the Malian elite would not be associated. First, with the help of Saïd (1978) and Fanon’s (1952) work, I explain the reason for that class conflict through the dichotomy between “North and South”. This dichotomy has been translated south to “local elite / rural population”. Second, I show that to overcome difficulties, employees develop alternative forms of accountabilities toward villagers and toward themselves. The second form aims to develop mutual support but also reinstate accountability toward hierarchy by using their personal positions and degree of power in order to take a coordination action.Overall, this doctoral thesis shows that hierarchical accountability can be momentarily interrupted and later can be restored by the development of alternative types of social accountability.

Suggested Citation

  • Grisard, Claudine, 2014. "La formation de l'accountability en situations conflictuelles," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/13959 edited by Berland, Nicolas.
  • Handle: RePEc:dau:thesis:123456789/13959
    Note: dissertation

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Accountability hiérarchique et sociale; Interactions; Construction identitaire; Théories postcoloniales; Hierarchical and social accountability; Interactions; Identity construction; Postcolonial theories;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism


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