Accounting, accountants and accountability regimes in pluralistic societies: taking multiple perspectives seriously

Hopper, Trevor, Brown, Judy and Dillard, Jesse (2015) Accounting, accountants and accountability regimes in pluralistic societies: taking multiple perspectives seriously. Auditing, Accounting and Accountability Journal, 28 (5). pp. 1-26. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to synthesize work in the emerging field of how accounting and
accountability can be reoriented to better promote pluralistic democracy which recognizes and addresses
differentials in power, beliefs and desires of constituencies. An agenda for future research and engagement
is outlined, drawing on this and insights fromother papers in this special issue of the Accounting, Auditing
and Accountability Journal (AAAJ) aimed at taking multiple perspectives seriously.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews and synthesizes the central themes associated
with accounting, accountants and accountability regimes in pluralistic societies, especially with respect to the
research studies in this AAAJ special issue, and it identifies possibilities for future research and engagement.
Findings – Three central themes are identified: the challenges of achieving critical, pluralistic
engagement in and through mainstream institutions; the possibilities of taking multiple perspectives
seriously through decentred understandings of governance and democracy; and the value of an
agonistic ethos of engagement in accounting. The articles in this issue contribute to these themes,
albeit differently, and in combination with the extant social science literature reviewed here, open up
pathways for future research and engagement.
Practical implications – This work seeks to encourage the development of pluralistic accounting
and accountability systems drawing on conceptual and practice-based resources across disciplines and
by considering the standpoints of diverse interested constituencies, including academics, policymakers,
business leaders and social movements.
Originality/value – How accounting can reflect and enact pluralistic democracy, not least to involve
civil society, and how problems related to power differentials and seemingly incompatible aims can be
addressed has been largely neglected. This issue provides empirical, practical and theoretical material
to advance further work in the area.
Paper type Research paper

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Accountability, Pluralism, Agonistic democracy, Dialogic accountings
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Business and Management
Depositing User: Trevor Hopper
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 11:59
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 02:33

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