Between accounting and the accountant in organisations: the systems, the people, the mesh

Burke, Anthony and Byrne, Sean and Casey, John and Griffin, Ray (2020) Between accounting and the accountant in organisations: the systems, the people, the mesh. PhD thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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This study is about the people and things of accounting, and more particularly how they relate to produce accounting work in organisations. Until recently, accounting was produced by accountants, and there was a reasonably unproblematic divide between accounting people and accounting things. This is no longer the case. The transformation taking place in the profession is difficult to interpret and theorise. Practice is ahead of our thinking, and our conceptual tools for thinking and researching accounting are struggling somewhat to allow us researchers to make sense of the change. As a result, the research that underpins this thesis starts with the everyday contemporary work of accounting in organisations - studying the stories accountants tell of the various toils and tribulations of their work from twenty four storytelling interviews. Across three papers, I engage in a theoretical exploration, drawing on recent contributions from across the social and human sciences - philosophy, anthropology, sociology, political theory, management, organisation studies and accounting, with the aspiration of drawing out a greater understanding of contemporary accounting work. Paper One sets the scene by exploring the humans and non-humans of accounting work. Relying heavily on fundamental elements of Donna Haraway’s vivid image of the cyborg, Paper One surfaces the hybridic nature of contemporary accounting work. Paper Two revisits an actor-network theory approach to the hybrid assemblage of accounting with the salve of affect theory. In doing so, Paper Two surfaces and advocates for an anti-sacrificial politics of accounting work in organisations in support of the anxious humans that appear to be ever more diminished within the emerging hybridic nature of accounting work. Going further, Paper Three seeks out a greater understanding of the spirit of accounting work in organisations, the deeply felt eschatology and sense of impending judgement that animates everyday accounting work. Taken together, assisted by recent advances in social theory, the three papers aspire to renew our thinking about accountants everyday work, searching for a greater meaning and understanding. Keywords: accounting, accountant, roles, cyborg, actor-network theory, affect theory, anxiety, anti-sacrificial, spirit of accounting, eschatology

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: This was for the final master project This is a placeholder note
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Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 10:20
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2024 00:03

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