Articles scientifiques

Accounting and the birth of the notion of capitalism


Critical Perspectives on Accounting

mars 2007, vol. 18, n°3, pp.263-296

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

The purpose of this paper is to cast a new light on the post-Sombartian debate. As we know, Sombart (Sombart W. Der Moderne Kapitalismus. M¨unchen, Leipzig: Duncker and Humbolt, 1916) thought that the invention of double-entry bookkeeping was essential to the birth of capitalism. Max Weber developed the same theme, but to a lesser extent. Accounting scholars have debated the idea quite extensively during the 20th century. All these previous works have in common the fact that they address the historical question by comparing accounting practices to business practices, some of which are interpreted as capitalist. In this paper, my aim is not so much to understand the birth of capitalism, but to contribute to some understanding of the birth of the concept of capitalism itself. The concept was forged during the 19th century. At that time, capitalism and a certain kind of double-entry bookkeeping practice that was able to highlight the circuit of capital were inextricably linked. It might be suggested that this historical situation greatly helped the scholars of the period to conceptualise what they called capitalism, and it is easy to show that the notion of capitalism itself is rooted in accounting notions. I will thus argue that the history of how the concept of capitalism was invented is an example of the influence of accounting ideas on economic and sociological thinkingKeywords: Capitalism; Accounting; Karl Marx; Werner Sombart; Double-entry bookkeeping

Control and Change. Analysing the Process of Institutionalisation


Management Accounting Research

juin 2007, vol. 18, n°2, pp.172-208

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This paper studies the process by which a change in the institutional logic of an organisational field is institutionalised in management control systems of a firm. In particular, three elements of organisational control, inspired by the control mix defined by Abernethy and Chua (1996), are studied: management culture, division of powers between functions, and accountability principles. The theoretical framework proposed by Hasselbladh and Kallinikos (2000) enables us to describe the institutionalisation process of management control systems in more detail by observing how ideals are translated into discourse and in turn control techniques. The paper also investigates the internalisation and 'decoupling' occurring between the implementation of control systems, and their actual use when applied for monitoring operational managers. Indeed, the empirical findings, based on a field study conducted in the French subsidiary of a pharmaceutical laboratory, enable us to identify a persistent decoupling. Our results show it stems from ambiguous managerial choices and the resistance of the actors to the new norm. However, it appears that, when discourse can not be heard, it can be partially bypassed using techniques. In fact, these techniques enable an insidious institutionalisation of the new institutional logics when 'what can be done can not be said

Die Geburt des Kapitalismus aus der Idee der doppelten Buchführung



2007, n°2, pp.64-93

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Differences between Domestic Accounting Standards and IAS: Measurement, Determinants and Implications


Journal of Accounting and Public Policy

janvier 2007, vol. 26, n°1, pp.1-38

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : International accounting differences, Institutional factors, Earnings management, Synchronicity

This study analyzes determinants and effects of accounting differences between Domestic Accounting Standards (DAS) and International Accounting Standards (IAS). Based on an extensive list of differences between DAS and IAS, we create two indices, 'absence' and 'divergence.' 'Absence' measures the difference between DAS and IAS as the extent to which the rules regarding certain accounting issues are missing in DAS while covered in IAS. 'Divergence' represents the differences between DAS and IAS as the extent to which the rules regarding the same accounting issue differ in DAS and IAS. Using a sample of more than 30 countries for the year 2001, we show that 'absence' is mainly determined by the legal system and the sophistication of the financial system, while 'divergence' is positively associated with the level of economic development and constrained by the importance of equity markets. Our analysis also provides evidence that a higher level of 'absence' creates more opportunities for earnings management and decreases firm-specific information to investors. A larger 'divergence' from IAS offers richer firm-specific information to the capital markets

Discipliner les autres et agir sur soi. La double vie du contrôleur de gestion

C. LAMBERT, E. Pezet

Finance - Contrôle - Stratégie

mars 2007, vol. 10, n°1, pp.183-208

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Dans le courant dit critique, de nombreux travaux montrent que le contrôle des individus est obtenu en ayant recours à des effets de domination. En nous intéressant à la conception et au maintien du panoptique plutôt qu'à sa mise en oeuvre, nous montrons ainsi qu'il est possible de dépasser la métaphore disciplinaire et de mettre en évidence l'engagement du sujet dans des jeux de vérité (Foucault, 1984b). De plus, nous choisissons une perspective très rarement adoptée, celle d'observer le panoptique du point de vue du gardien, i.e., le contrôleur de gestion Mots clés : Foucault, subjectivation, épreuve de vérité, contrôleur de gestion, automobile