Making a Niche: The Marketization of Management Research and the Rise of “Knowledge Branding”


Journal of Management Studies

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

In this essay, we discuss an underexplored and consequential aspect of management scholarship that we term ‘Knowledge Branding’. Knowledge Branding refers to forms of market‐oriented work undertaken when creating, maintaining and developing niches of research. We consider some of the conditions and consequences of Knowledge Branding in the formation and expansion of management research sub‐fields, and then suggest how its more damaging effects might be mitigated.We invite participation in a ‘difficult conversation’ about the culture of market‐oriented knowledge production in management research, not only by raising uncomfortable questions about its grip on our field but also because we acknowledge our complicity in what we discuss. One of us (Hugh) has had an academic career spanning four decades, has been keenly observing the evolution of management scholarship, and has been questioning recent trends such as the commercialization and marketization of higher education, the commodification of academic labour, and the rise of managerialism evident in the use of performance measurement systems such as journal lists. At the same time, he has served on panels responsible for evaluating business and management research (e.g., the UK research evaluation exercises, RAE and REF). By associating funding more directly to short(‐ish) term performance metrics, such exercises are seen to have accelerated the marketization of research that we consider here. The other (Afshin) has started his academic career relatively recently. He has closely and personally experienced and observed the intensifying pressures upon Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to maximize ‘hits’ in ‘top’ journals that are fuelled by the importance placed by ‘consumers’ (students) and managers (deans, appointment and promotion committee members) on rankings of business schools and universities.Writing this essay was prompted by our reflections on the process of preparing and revising a paper for a special issue of Journal of Management Studies dedicated to ‘Political CSR’ (Scherer et al., 2016). Our participation in a number of workshops, conference sessions, and the review processes in relation to the preparation and revision of the paper led us to reflect in a more sustained way upon a process that we believe to be consequential in the rise of Political CSR, and that we characterize as Knowledge Branding. Based on personal experiences and discussions with a number of colleagues, we have come to believe that Knowledge Branding exerts an increasing influence in the formation and expansion of management research sub‐fields which we term Knowledge Brands (KBs). Examples with which we have more familiarity include ‘Political CSR’, ‘Strategy‐as‐Practice’, ‘Institutional Logics’ and ‘Institutional Work’. There are also methodological KBs, such as the ‘Gioia Methodology’, that cut across diverse sub‐fields. This list is by no means exhaustive and it would be surprising, in the context of intensifying competition to occupy the restricted spaces in ‘top’ journals, if the phenomena of Knowledge Branding and KBs were absent from other management sub‐disciplines (e.g., finance and marketing) or other fields of the social sciences.We are not taking issue with the disciplinarity of research in management and the lifecycle of sub‐disciplines that have been explored and debated extensively by others. Nor do we seek to reflect on the role of management academics (along with consultants and other professional groups) in developing and marketing managerial techniques and in giving rise to ‘management fashions’ (Abrahamson, 1996). Instead, our essay foregrounds the nature and effects of an intensification of market‐based organizing in the establishment and consolidation of management research sub‐fields. We do not suggest here that Knowledge Branding is a wholly new phenomenon. We do believe, however, that it is becoming more widespread and significant as an outcome, but also as a medium, of the intensification of market pressures and managerialism in our field. If our speculative observations resonate with our readers, then we hope that our sketch of Knowledge Branding will prompt more systematic scrutiny and evaluation of its operation and effects

Non-additivity in accounting valuation: Theory and applications



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

Mots clés : Choquet capacities, Goodwill, Growth options, Non-additive accounting-based valuation, Productive efficiency, Synergies

This paper has three objectives. First, to introduce a theoretical solution to the issue of non-additivity between assets in place, relying on an accounting-based valuation approach. Second, to explain how such an approach can be implemented empirically by measuring synergies between assets. Third, to present the properties of this non-additive valuation technique. We use Choquet capacities, that is, non-additive aggregation operators, to measure the interactions between assets and apply our methodology to a sample of US firms from the capital goods industry. To operationalize our approach we examine the relationships between synergies-captured by Choquet capacities-and the market-to-book ratio (proxying for growth options), and show how interactions between assets are consistently linked to a firm's market-to-book ratio. We also measure firm-specific productive efficiency relative to the industry and firm size. For large firms, efficiency, as defined by our approach, is positively associated with higher future operating cash flows. For small firms, efficiency is positively associated with higher future sales growth. We document that the non-additive approach appears to be better able to identify expected relationships between efficiency and future performance than a simpler approach based on the market-to-book ratio. © 2018 Accounting Foundation, The University of Sydney

Re-Thinking the CSP-CFP Linkage: Analyzing the Mechanisms Involved in Translating Socially-Responsible Behavior to Financial Performance


Advances in Strategic Management

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

The Effects of IFRS Adoption on Observed Earnings Smoothing Properties: The Confounding Effects of Changes in TimelyGain and Loss Recognition


European Accounting Review

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

The Whisteblower: An Important Person in Corporate Life?


Journal of Business Law

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

Who’s Watching? Accountability in Different Audit Regimes and the Effects on Auditors’ Professional Skepticism


Journal of Business Ethics

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

Mots clés : Accountability, Auditors, Professional skepticism, Joint audit, Judgment, Experiment

The European Commission has suggested that the use of joint audits should lead to improved auditor skepticism and—by extension—audit quality, throughincreased accountability. However, archival research does not find support for improved audit quality in a joint audit setting. To better understand the relationship between accountability in different review regimes and auditors’judgments, we examine the behavioral effect of implementing a joint audit relative to other review regimes based on a 1 9 3 experimental design. Forty-seven senior auditors and partners from a Big Four firm performed a goingconcern evaluation task under one of three review regimes: the joint audit, the internal review, and the no review regime. Notwithstanding the difference in the audiences to which auditors are accountable, there is no difference in thejudgment process. In terms of their judgment outcome, however, auditors in the joint audit setting were the least skeptical in their judgment of the going concern assumption. Overall, we suggest that the joint audit may lead tounintended behavioral consequences

Assembling international development: Accountability and the disarticulation of a social movement


Accounting Organizations and Society

février 2017, vol. 63, pp.6-20

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

Mots clés : Accountability, Social movements, International development, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Governmentality, Assemblages

This paper examines how international development funding and accountability requirements are implicated in the so-called disarticulation of a social movement. Based on field studies in Guatemala and El Salvador, we show and explain the way accountability requirements, which encompass management and accounting, legal, and financial technologies, constitute the field of international development through the regulation of heterogeneous social movement organizations. We highlight how accountability enables a form of governance that makes possible the emergence of entities (with specific attributes), while restricting others. Our analysis has implications for governmentality studies that have examined the interrelation of assemblages by analyzing how these interrelations are operationalized at the field level through the Deleuze-and-Guattari-inspired processes of territorialization, coding, and overcoding

Blockholder Exit Threats in the Presence of Private Benefits of Control

Ole-Kristian HOPE, H. WU, Wuyang ZHAO

Review of Accounting Studies

juin 2017, vol. 22, n°2, pp.873-902

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Exit-Threat Theory, Private Benefits of Control, Liquidity, China, Split-Share Structure Reform, Operating Performance, Quasi-Experiment

Exit theory predicts a governance role of outside blockholders’ exit threats; but this role could be ineffective if managers’ potential private benefits exceed their loss in stock-price declines caused by outside blockholders’ exit. We test this prediction using the Split-Share Structure Reform (SSSR) in China, which provided a large, exogenous, and permanent shock to the cost for outside blockholders to exit. Using a difference-in-differences design combined with propensity-score matching, we find that firms whose outside blockholders experience an increase in exit threats have a greater improvement in performance than those whose outside blockholders experience no increase. Moreover, the governance effect of exit threats is ineffective in the group of firms with the highest concern for private benefits of control. Finally, a battery of theory-motivated tests show that the documented effects are unlikely explained by outside blockholder intervention or some well-known intended effects of SSSR

Consequences of the Abandonment of Mandatory Joint Audit: An Empirical Study of Audit Costs and Audit Quality Effects


European Accounting Review

2017, vol. 26, n°2, pp.311-339

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Joint audit, Audit cost, Audit quality, Audit market, Denmark

This paper focuses on the unique Danish setting in examining the consequences of abandoning a mandatory joint audit regime. We study the effects on audit costs (measured by audit fees) and audit quality (measured by abnormal accruals) of the abandonment of the mandatory joint audit in Denmark in 2005. We perform our analysis on non-financial listed Danish companies for the 2002–2010 period. Our results show that a joint audit is associated with higher fees, but that the association between joint audit and abnormal accruals is insignificant. This suggests that the higher audit fees cannot be explained by higher audit quality. Our results are robust to alternative measurements of fees and audit quality. Additional analyses show that the fee premium related to a joint audit decreases over time and that the Big 4 concentration in our sample has increased since the switch from mandatory to voluntary joint audit. Our results are consistent with the motivations driving the regulatory change in Denmark and are of interest to regulators and actors in the audit market

Constructing, Contesting, and Overloading: A Study of Risk Management Framing


European Accounting Review

2017, vol. 26, n°4, pp.703-728

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

In this study, we examine the ways in which actuarial consultants attempt to motivate their clients to see pension-related accounting regulations and market volatility as ‘risks’ that need to be managed through particular risk-mitigating technologies. This study is predicated on 23 interviews conducted with actuarial consultants and their clients and consulting agencies’ publically available documents. Taking framing theory and the sociological literature on risk as conceptual starting points, we find that consultants engage in specific framing strategies to persuade clients by rhetorically weaving a series of financial risk objects, financial de-risking strategies, and calls for action. We also find that current and prospective clients sometimes contest consultants’ prescriptions, despite the pervasiveness of risk management as the ultima ratio of organizational governance. This contestation occurs, ironically, because adopting de-risking solutions in one area is perceived by some clients as triggering new risks in areas unforeseen by consultants. This research increases our knowledge of how new risk objects and de-risking solutions come into existence and why some risk management practices fail to be diffused within organizations despite the staggering success of the risk management rationality. We explain the latter through the concepts of frame diffraction and overload