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Discourse and institutional change: 'Giving accounts' and accountability

Ezzamel, Mahmoud, Robson, Keith, Stapleton, Pam and McLean, Christine 2007. Discourse and institutional change: 'Giving accounts' and accountability. Management Accounting Research 18 (2) , pp. 150-171. 10.1016/j.mar.2007.03.001

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This paper examines the impact of the implementation of Local Management of Schools (LMS) in the UK on the discursive practices that help construct institutions of ‘accountability’ in a particular organizational field. The paper examines the institutionalization of accountability processes by analyzing discourses on accountability in the education field. It explores the extent to which the focus on financial discourses of accountability introduced by state legislation, and underpinned by the promotion of the market ethos, mediates the enactment of non-financial understandings and beliefs about the institutionalized accountability of schools and their staff. We focus upon two discourses of accountability: those introduced by organizations requirements under recent legislation to legitimate themselves within their field (regulatory institutions of accountability) and how organizational actors legitimate themselves with each other in the enactment of their everyday activities (‘folk’, or old, institutions of accountability). The paper argues that, in their strategic response to regulatory institutions of accountability, school staff struggled to disentangle the ‘rational’ or ‘legitimate’ notions of their accountability from the folk, tacit or private institutional norms to which they have held themselves accountable in the past. Although different informants have tended to emphasize different dimensions of accountability, discourses of financial accountability were the key rationale for the explanations of conduct, even when informants were discussing seemingly non-financial or ‘folk-based’ institutions of accountability.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accounting; Accountability; Discourse; Regulation; Folk accounting
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1044-5005
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 03:50

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