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Manufacturing shareholder value: the role of accounting in organizational transformation

Ezzamel, Mahmoud, Willmott, Hugh and Worthington, Frank 2008. Manufacturing shareholder value: the role of accounting in organizational transformation. Accounting, Organizations and Society 33 (2-3) , pp. 107-140. 10.1016/j.aos.2007.03.001

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This paper explores the role of accounting calculations in constructing shareholder value within the context of organizational transformation in work organization. Using an intensive longitudinal case study (Conglom, a pseudonym), the paper relates innovation and experimentation in new forms of work organization to a drive for shareholder value creation. The priority given to shareholder value creation was articulated through a proliferation of accounting metrics and calculations that intermediated between the strategic preoccupation with securing financial profitability, as demonstrated by the share price, and the operational challenge of squeezing costs and improving margins to boost short-term performance through outsourcing, programme management and divestment. We interpret the discourse of shareholder value creation and the development of related accounting metrics as a hegemonic move which is central to the reassertion of capital – a development that, we contend, is symptomatic of a shift towards a more ‘despotic’ mode of capitalist reproduction [Burawoy, M., (1985). The politics of production. London: Verso], where the whip of the market, allied to notions of possessive individualism, free choice and self-determination, progressively replaces the velvet glove of the corporatist state.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0361-3682
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:17

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