Articles scientifiques

An unprecedented privatisation of mandatory standard-setting: the case of European accounting policy


Critical Perspectives on Accounting

mai 2009, vol. 20, n°4, pp.448-468

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, Droit et fiscalité

The EU-member States have long intended to harmonize their respective accounting rules in order to facilitate the comparison between European companies. This process was brutally accelerated by a 2002 regulation announcing that as of 2005, listed companies would be required to comply with the accounting standards enacted by the IASB (International Accounting Standards Board), a private body which, until then, had no public mandate. After having tried to harmonize internally the respective standards of its members, the EU has thus decided to resort to private subcontracting, an even more puzzling decision when one realizes that at the time, the EU had simply no statutory control means on the IASB. Building on this striking episode of privatization of the regulatory process, we first examine the structure and governance of the IASB, and the process leading to the transplantation of its norms into EU law. In a second part, we argue that while diverse, the reasons behind such relinquishment of public authority lie primarily within the EU itself. In a third part, we show that in the area of accounting, such transfer of competences went well beyond known forms of delegation to private sector. In a final part, we discuss the subsequent - and so far successful attempt of the EU to reassert its authority as well as its agenda in this area.*ACCOUNTING -- Standards*ACCOUNTING -- Law & legislation*ACCOUNTING methods*EUROPEAN Union

Analysing, Accounting for and Unmasking Domination: On Our Role as Scholars of Practice, Practitioners of Social Science and Public Intellectuals

D. Golsorkhi, B. Leca, M. Lounsbury, C. RAMIREZ


octobre 2009, vol. 16, n°6, pp.779-797

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Bourdieu, Domination, Methodology, Organization studies, Participant objectivation, Reflexivity, Relational perspective, Social roles of scholars

Over the last 30 years, there has been an increasing interest in organizational analysis for the work of Pierre Bourdieu. However, the consequent body of literature often lacks an integrated comprehension of Bourdieusian theory and therefore fails to fully exploit its potentialities. In this essay, we argue for a more systematic engagement with the work of Bourdieu by organizational scholars and emphasize the opportunity to develop cumulative research on domination within and between organizations. The means by which systems of domination are reproduced without conscious intention by agents is a central issue for Bourdieu and arguably the primary reason for the development of his theoretical framework. It is thus through the study of domination that one can acquire a panoramic vision of Bourdieusian concepts that have been otherwise too often tackled separately. Moreover, domination is also a key entry to the understanding of how social scientists produce their own knowledge and of their role as members of society. We emphasize that as scholars, we have a moral responsibility to be reflexive about our practice and the social worlds we study in order to ultimately use the knowledge we produce to inform and direct social progress

Back to the Origins of Positive Theories: A Contribution to an Analysis of Paradigm Changes in Accounting Research


Accounting in Europe

2009, vol. 6, n°1, pp.107-126

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Research, Business education, Account books, Financial statements, Accountants, Management controls

In this article, we analyse factors that explain the success of the empirical methodology of ‘positive accounting theory’ (PA) in accounting research. In fewer than ten years, between 1960 and 1967–1968, PA became dominant in the main accounting journals, and normative theories disappeared from academic publishing. The reasons for this success are not clearly established. The propagators of PA (Ball and Brown, 1968; Watts and Zimmerman, 1986) advocate the fertility of their approach, while others (e.g. Mattessich, 1995; Mouck, 1988; Whittington, 1987; Williams, 1989) denounce their ostracism and systematic denigration of rival approaches. Both proponents and opponents of PA consider the emergence of positive theories as a radical severance; however, we suggest that the move from normative to positive theories occurred gradually. Even if they took advantage of the reform that took place in US business schools during the 1950s, the proponents of PA also benefited from a decoupling between the academic world and accounting practice initiated by their predecessors

Constructing the governable small practitioner: The changing nature of professional bodies and the management of professional accountants' identities in the UK


Accounting Organizations and Society

avril-mai 2009, vol. 34, n°3-4, pp.381-408

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Governable small practitioner, Professional bodies, Professional accountants

This article aims at contributing to the sociology of the accountancy profession by analysing how professional organisations govern the various categories that have emerged in the professional body throughout its history. To this end, the attempt by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to give an institutional existence to the category of “the small practitioner” is examined. The plasticity and the polysemic nature of the notion of smallness, which refers simultaneously to physical (small/big), geographical (local/global) and moral (anonymous/notorious) characteristics, offers a particular opportunity to show how these three dimensions have been integrated into evolving organisational arrangements and discourses aimed at legitimising the professional order. It is contended that the definition of what small practitioners are, and how they should be dealt with, can only be understood as part of the broader issue of governance of the accountancy community and the nature of the professional body. The ICAEW’s efforts to problematise the nature of small practices indicates a will to integrate distant modalities of accounting expertise into a single professional space, so as to prevent the physical and geographical distance between big and small firms from becoming too conspicuous a hierarchical distinction, and thus preserve the ideal of the community of peers upon which professional bodies have been built

Criticisms of capitalism, budgeting and the double enrolment: Budgetary control rhetoric and social reform in France in the 1930s and 1950s

E. CHIAPELLO, N. Berland

Accounting Organizations and Society

janvier 2009, vol. 34, n°1, pp.28-57

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This article is a contribution to the study of the spread of management innovations, methods and rhetorics. It particularly concerns the influence of ideological and political factors, which have so far mostly escaped in-depth study. In particular, we seek to understand to what extent a critique of society developed by social reformers can be a source of inspiration for managers, leading them to change their practices and experiment with new devices. Relying on the framework of historical change in management practices developed by Boltanski and Chiapello [Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso (Translation of Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris: Gallimard, 1999)], we study the specific development of budgetary control in France, examined in the light of the general political and economic history of the 20th century. This framework simultaneously encompasses the dissemination of a new accounting practice, the transformation of capitalist institutions and mo des of regulation in a given period and country, and the programmatic discourses [Miller, P., & Rose, N. (1990). Governing economic life. Economy and Society, 19(1), 1'31] associated with the historical move.More exactly, what interests us is a double enrolment process. The business world promoters of budgetary control use the rhetorics of social reformers to present budgetary control as a solution to the economic and social problems of their time; conversely, social reformers promote budgetary control as a realistic, efficient tool that can change the world. Ultimately, a degree of alliance is possible around this management tool, although the extent to which the meanings each group attributes to its action are shared may remain unclear. Based on an analysis of the writings of budgetary control promoters of the 1930s and the 1950s, we show the close links between their discourse and the reforming ideas of their time, and how we can trace through this corpus the evolution of this kind of political rationalities [Miller, P., & Rose, N. (1990). Governing economic life. Economy and Society, 19(1), 1'31] associated with governing and managing corporations we call the spirit of capitalism [Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso (Translation of Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris: Gallimard, 1999)].