25 سال گیدنز در تحقیقات حسابداری: دستاوردها، محدودیت ها و آینده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10367||2011||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 36, Issue 8, November 2011, Pages 494–513
Twenty five years ago, Giddens’ structuration theory (ST) was introduced into accounting research as a reaction to the history-less, apolitical and technical-efficiency focus of traditional functionalist research. A quarter of a century later, this growing stream of research consists of some 65 published papers and has become one of the dominant alternative approaches used to explore accounting as an organizational and social practice. We review this literature based on the following two research questions; (i) what are the major achievements of this literature, and in what respects has it contributed to our understanding of accounting in relation to other alternative streams of accounting research, such as those grounded in critical theory, actor-network theory (ANT), new-institutional sociology (NIS) and practice theory? and; (ii) what are the limitations of the ST strand and, considering these (and its relative strengths), how should it be advanced in the future? Overall, we find that the mobilization of ST as a general ontological framework has generated three major and largely unique contributions, namely; (i) the introduction of a duality perspective; (ii) the conceptualization of accounting as an interwoven totality comprised of structures of signification, domination and legitimation, and; (iii) an ontological basis for theorizing how, when and why socially embedded agents may produce both continuity and change in accounting practices. However, we also conclude that it is difficult to identify a particular and distinctive empirical imprint of the ST literature, and that some of the theory’s ‘competitive advantages’ are far from fully exploited. Based on these identified strengths and weaknesses of the ST perspective, we consider an array of directions for future scholarly effort.
Twenty-five years ago, Roberts and Scapens (1985) introduced Giddens’ structuration theory (ST) into accounting research. By advocating a shift in focus from studying accounting systems per se to systems of accountability, ST was launched as a particularly useful framework for exploring accounting as an organizational and social practice (see Macintosh and Scapens, 1990 and Roberts and Scapens, 1985). And as such, ST became part of a larger ‘alternative’ stream of accounting research (Baxter & Chua, 2003) arguing that the de-contextualized and economically rational accounts of accounting that characterized (and still characterize) much mainstream research, needed to be replaced by a ‘non-rational’ (e.g. Burchell et al., 1980, Hedberg and Jönsson, 1978 and Hopwood, 1983), and ‘interpretive’ ( Boland and Pondy, 1983, Boland and Pondy, 1986 and Jönsson and Macintosh, 1997) or ‘radical’ ( Chua, 1986 and Tinker et al., 1982) view on accounting. A quarter of a century later, the ST-informed accounting literature consists of around 65 published papers and has become one of the dominant alternative approaches used to explore accounting practices (Busco, 2009, Coad and Herbert, 2009 and Englund and Gerdin, 2008). As ST-oriented accounting research is now established in its field, and having reached a milestone 25 years since the pioneering contributors in this area, the time seems opportune to consider the legacies of such work. The overall purpose of this paper is to do so through conducting a critical, yet sympathetic, review of this voluminous literature. More specifically, our review addresses the following two key questions; (i) what are the major achievements of this literature, and in what respects has it contributed to our understanding of accounting in relation to other alternative streams of accounting research, such as those grounded in critical theory, actor-network theory (ANT), new-institutional sociology (NIS) and practice theory? and; (ii) what are the limitations of the ST strand and, considering these (and its relative strengths), how should it be advanced in the future? Indeed, a few literature reviews have already been undertaken. However, these have been highly selective in different respects. For example, some have covered only published works in one particular journal (Baxter & Chua, 2003); while others honed their investigation towards narrower aspects of the field, such as Ahrens and Chapman’s (2007a) focus on the notion of accountability, Meira, Kartalis, Tsamenyi and Cullen’s (2010) exploration of inter-firm relationships, and Englund and Gerdin’s (2008) focus on Giddens’ notion of modalities as mediating concepts. This study, in contrast, constitutes a more comprehensive overview of the ST-oriented accounting literature, and to our knowledge is the first full examination of all published work in this field. In so doing, we advance four emerging ‘key themes’, which help to organize, characterize and synthesize the literature. These relate to; (i) how accounting as a phenomenon has been conceptualized; (ii) how accounting may be implicated in organizational and social practices; (iii) how accounting continuity, and; (iv) change, have been theorized. Overall, the emergent pattern for each of these themes adds to the critique that the history-less, apolitical and technical-efficiency focus of traditional functionalist research has very limited ability to help us understand how and why accounting is mobilized in and transformed through ‘everyday’ organizational life. Interestingly though, our review also shows that the ST strand offers several important and largely unique contributions to the broader alternative literature as such, namely; (i) the introduction of a duality perspective; (ii) the conceptualization of accounting as an interwoven social structure (consisting of structures of signification, legitimation, and domination), and; (iii) a basis for theorizing both accounting continuity and change. This said, however, our review also suggests major limitations, insofar as the literature seen as a whole has made few particular and distinctive empirical imprints, and some of ST’s ‘competitive advantages’ are far from fully exploited. Based on these relative strengths and weaknesses, we suggest a number of ways that the inquiry of ST-oriented accounting research might be advanced in future years. The remainder of our paper is organized as follows. The next section presents a summary of the core concepts and underlying arguments of ST. Following that, we describe how our review was conducted, especially highlighting the search, selection, and analysis of published papers. Then, we articulate the findings of our review, organized around the four themes (mentioned above). Finally, we identify and discuss in depth major achievements and limitations, as well as propose a number of possible directions for future scholarly effort.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our extensive review of how the work of Giddens has been used during its first 25 years of ‘service’ in the accounting literature sets out to answer two key questions, namely; (i) what are the major achievements of this literature, and in what respects has it contributed to our understanding of accounting in relation to other alternative streams of accounting research? and; (ii) what are the limitations of the ST strand and, considering these (and its relative strengths), how should it be advanced in the future? On the positive side, the review shows that the ST strand has added important insights to the larger picture of how to conceptualize and understand accounting as an organizational and social phenomenon (see e.g. Ahrens and Chapman, 2002, Capps et al., 1989, Roberts, 1990 and Seal et al., 2004). Even more important is, however, that the ST perspective as such—as an ontological framework—helps to synthesize and reconcile sometimes antagonistic theoretical streams in the alternative literature. More specifically, the ‘flat’ view suggested by the notion of duality of structure has been important not only as it allows us to understand how accounting practices may endure across time and space (without submitting to a dualistic view), but also as it addresses the theoretical paradox of embedded agency. Also, the conceptualization of accounting as a social structure consisting of the three interrelated dimensions of signification (meaning), legitimation (morality) and domination (power) has generated several novel insights into how accounting may be implicated in daily organizational practices. On the negative side, we find that this strand has had a similar research agenda as other alternative streams, which makes it difficult to identify a particular and distinctive empirical imprint of the ST literature seen as whole. This said, however, we also suggest that the ST strand has hitherto not fully exploited the theory’s ‘competitive advantages’. In particular, we would like to see a stronger focus on day-to-day structuration processes and, especially, on how different types of accounting artefacts are implicated in the (re)production of organizational life. Such a focus would not only allow us to better understand the role(s) of knowledgeable agency in socio-technical contexts, but also how the reciprocal and non-deterministic relationships between structure, agency and artefacts may bring about (endogenously driven) accounting change. However, this is not to say the ST literature should be mainly concerned with intra-organizational processes also in the future. On the contrary, ST’s ‘flat and local’ ontology should also be highly useful for understanding how accounting ideas and techniques may (not) spread within organizational fields and societies, thereby addressing recent calls for exploring the micro-processes through which ‘broader institutional change’ is brought about.