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The making of the management accountant. Becoming the producer of truthful knowledge


  • Lambert, Caroline


  • Pezet, Eric



In this paper, the authors analyse the practices through which the management accountant is constructed as a knowing subject and becomes a producer of truthful knowledge. They draw on a case study of an automobile equipment manufacturer in which management accountants play a central role. The centrality of their role is evidenced, among other aspects, by their participation in online reverse auctions, wherein they commit themselves and their company to long-term projects. This commitment is constitutive of their identity as knowing subjects and organisational truth tellers. However, the “validity” of the truth they produce can only be assessed over time. They argue that, in this firm, monthly performance review meetings constitute “accounting trials of truth” during which peers and senior management crossexamine the accounting truth presented. Preparations for these trials of truth constitute a form of subjectivation whereby management accountants act on their ways of being in the firm and become the producers of truthful knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambert, Caroline & Pezet, Eric, 2010. "The making of the management accountant. Becoming the producer of truthful knowledge," Les Cahiers de Recherche 932, HEC Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0932

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heinemann, Frank & Illing, Gerhard, 2002. "Speculative attacks: unique equilibrium and transparency," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 429-450, December.
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    4. Nye John & Moul Charles, 2007. "The Political Economy of Numbers: On the Application of Benford's Law to International Macroeconomic Statistics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-14, July.
    5. Tomasz Kamil Michalski & Guillaume Stoltz, 2010. "Do countries falsify economic data strategically? Some evidence that they do," Post-Print hal-00543490, HAL.
    6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    7. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2003. "Coordination and Policy Traps," NBER Working Papers 9767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Efficient Use of Information and Social Value of Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1103-1142, July.
    9. Sandleris, Guido, 2008. "Sovereign defaults: Information, investment and credit," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 267-275, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomson, Ian & Grubnic, Suzana & Georgakopoulos, Georgios, 2014. "Exploring accounting-sustainability hybridisation in the UK public sector," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 453-476.
    2. Joyce, Yvonne, 2014. "Knowledge mandates in the state–profession dynamic: A study of the British insolvency profession," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 590-614.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13554 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rowe, Casey & Shields, Michael D. & Birnberg, Jacob G., 2012. "Hardening soft accounting information: Games for planning organizational change," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 260-279.

    More about this item


    management accountant; subjectivation; trials of truth; Foucault;

    JEL classification:

    • M49 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Other

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