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Management accounting and power: A contested relationship

  • João A. Ribeiro


    (CETE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Robert W. Scapens


    (Manchester Business School)

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    This paper is structured in two parts. In the first part we undertake a brief discussion on the concept of power and we explore the way this concept has been regarded in several strands of literature on management accounting – the conventional, the contingency, the pluralist, the interpretive, the critical and the post-structuralist. Some of these strands – for instance, the pluralist, the critical and the post-structuralist – explicitly recognise the importance of (some conception of) power in their approach to management accounting in society and organisations. Other approaches are less explicit in that recognition or simply overlook/reject it. The second part of the paper takes sides, departing from the idea that there is a relationship between management accounting and power and proposes a framework for conceptualising that relationship. This framework attempts to bring together different dimensions/conceptions of power, and is proposed as a way to study management accounting and its change within organisations.

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    Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series CEF.UP Working Papers with number 0611.

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    Length: 20 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:0611
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    1. Preston, Alistair, 1986. "Interactions and arrangements in the process of informing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 521-540, October.
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    4. Boland, Richard Jr. & Pondy, Louis R., 1983. "Accounting in organizations: A union of natural and rational perspectives," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 223-234, May.
    5. Chua, Wai Fong, 1995. "Experts, networks and inscriptions in the fabrication of accounting images: A story of the representation of three public hospitals," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 111-145.
    6. Tomkins, Cyril & Groves, Roger, 1983. "The everyday accountant and researching his reality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 361-374, October.
    7. Burchell, Stuart & Clubb, Colin & Hopwood, Anthony & Hughes, John & Nahapiet, Janine, 1980. "The roles of accounting in organizations and society," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, January.
    8. Preston, Alistair M. & Cooper, David J. & Coombs, Rod W., 1992. "Fabricating budgets: A study of the production of management budgeting in the national health service," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 561-593, August.
    9. Quattrone, Paolo & Hopper, Trevor, 2005. "A 'time-space odyssey': management control systems in two multinational organisations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 735-764.
    10. Miller, Peter & O'Leary, Ted, 1987. "Accounting and the construction of the governable person," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 235-265, April.
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