Organisations work within their social, political, and environmental surroundings and therefore they should consider how to be responsible for their actions and potential impacts on these fields. This workshop will aim to encourage new ways of linking these responsibilities through alternative means of mechanisms to discharge accountabilities and not just demand it.
Themes of the workshop
Delivering and discharging accountabilities in times of changing roles of accounting profession and the role of consultants in developing and operationalising SDGs, calculative practices for sustainability, hybridity and hybrid controls, crisis management and public sector reforms.
The workshop will seek alternative methodologies but mainly will focus on critical perspectives and other similar approaches including Actor Network Theory. Especially, we would like to emphasise the use of ANT as a theory about power, and that also contains elements of politics.
The workshop will encourage participants to present their ideas, work in progress and completed full papers through informal group networking and panel discussions and will find the opportunity to ask questions regarding publications in Critical Perspectives on Accounting and other similar top-quality publications.
Key-note presenters and panels
Professor Peter Skærbæk, CBS, Denmark. Topic: "Using Actor-Network-Theory to study contemporary management and accounting phenomena - ESG, roles of economic theories to public sector reforms, management consultants, and crisis management"
In his keynote, Peter Skærbæk will speak about the following issues:
The Western world is subjected to multiple reforms that in different ways have impacts on companies and other work organizations, and as staff and citizens of nations, and in international communities such as the EU. International movements like economics based at universities, in government advisory entities, in productivity commissions, in the World Bank and the OECD, etc., to a high extent develop reasons for the changes and frequently identify solutions to the problems that they themselves have pointed out. As the OECD says: productivity is “the ultimate engine of growth in the global economy” (OECD, 2015). With different cases from the public sector, I seek to show the sometimes-devastating effects, i.e., for instance reduced productivity and reduced quality and service, that can be produced due to such reforms. It also points to crisis management, and how blame is allocated to individuals rather than to the economic theories themselves, and the people that mobilize them. Another topic is that the EU has decided on new accounting regulations under the heading Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive with huge inputs from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and climate-related risk measures. This reform will generate a significant impact on many companies, their controlling and finance units, and their staff to comply with these new standards. But will the new standards produce more objective and factual measures? To study these contemporary phenomena Peter will draw on symbolic interactionist theory, Erving Goffman and his work on impression management and framing) and Actor-Network-Theory and Michel Callon’s performativity thesis and his key concepts of framing and overflowing.
Professor Christine Cooper, University of Edinburgh Business School, UK will address: Can accounting make government more “Business Like”? A micro level analysis of the large-scale implementation of accounting as an agent of change.
In her key note speech she will talk about:
When Margaret Thatcher won the UK election in 1979, she had a strong ideological commitment to shrinking the state. While large-scale privatisations of whole industries (electricity, aviation, car manufacturing and so on), achieved a significant reduction in terms of the number of people employed in state-owned industries, Thatcher also wanted to shrink “state-bureaucracy”, by making it more “efficient” and “business-like”. She set about doing this with the aid of an unpaid advisor (Derek Rayner) by introducing a raft of accounting initiatives, including her “own” internal audit system. In terms of Deleuze and Guattari, attempts were made to reterritorialize government. This research is concerned with Thatcher and her close allies’ belief that the numerous accounting projects, in the end, changed very little.
Professor Istemi Demirag will present his joint work with his ex-PhD student Ume Zaidi on
“Hybrid controls and calculative practices” focusing on trust and reciprocity, in managing performance measure changes. Baced on empirical work with a UK-based local authority, he will investigate the management of performance measure changes in public private hybrid organisational contracts (Private Finance Initiative UK contract). It also maps the contract negotiation phase to understand mechanism that actors in hybrid organisational relationship uses in practice to manage change. The findings indicate that in contrast to extant hybrid management control literature that showed the fundamental role of trust in managing hybrid relations; instead hybrid organisational actors manage performance measures changes in PFI contract through relational mechanism of reciprocity for long-term sustainable relationship because as organisational agents the organisational objectives (profit making and cost savings) mitigate their ability to prioritise trust based on good working relationship.
The workshop will be based at Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Tallinn , Estonia on August 24, 2023, starting from 10 am until 16.00 pm. in Room: SOC-213.
A small number of selected papers (a maximum of six papers) will be presented. A panel discussion of the papers will take place providing useful advice to authors for publications in high quality academic papers. It is anticipated that selected papers from the workshop will be asked to submit their papers to the Critical Perspectives on Accounting Special Issue based on similar themes to the call for papers for this workshop. The potential guest editors of the Special Issue will be Professor Christine Cooper, Professor Istemi Demirag and Professor Peter Skaerbaek. More detailed information will be provided on the themes of the SI in due course.
It is expected that the Special Issue of CPA will be finalised in December 2025.
Acceptance of the papers for the workshop will not mean that the papers will be encouraged for submission to the special issue. Papers will also be invited for submission to the SI with the journal’s regular peer view processes, without the requirement to attend the workshop.