فراتر از چارچوب های انضباطی: کنترل مدیریت در جامعه ی کنترل
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16639||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 22, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 200–211
This article aims to build on Norman Macintosh's use of eighteen and nineteen century disciplinary practices to analyze contemporary management control systems. The paper proposes, drawing from Gilles Deleuze's concept of the “society of control” (1992, 1995), that institutions are no longer crucial sites of normalization; rather, control is pervasive in the open environment through overlapping digital information systems characterized by speed, ubiquity and heightened accuracy. The article suggests that Macintosh's disciplinary studies of management control systems exclude from the analysis what lies beyond the boundaries that circumscribe the panoptic gaze. The society of control is an attempt to contemporize Foucault's discipline and its inclusion in accounting research may offer another set of conceptual tools to theorize management control systems, normalization and forms of resistance that the disciplinary approach has so far not adequately account for.
Norman Macintosh has had an ongoing fascination with technology and the important role it plays in management processes. In Macintosh's (1985) earlier work, technologies are proposed as an important feature of management control systems, since an organization's management accounting and control is contingent on the types of technology implemented by the firm. Technologies are defined as the means of production: as the means by which raw materials are transformed into a final product. By 1993, Macintosh continued his interest in technologies but in a radically different way, as the term included the study of technologies or techniques of discipline such as hierarchical surveillance, normalizing sanction, and examination (Hopper and Macintosh, 1993). That is, taking inspiration from Foucault's Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison, Macintosh has sought to understand management control as a disciplinary technology. In this paper, I explore and question this theorization of management accounting in contemporary firms ( Hopper and Macintosh, 1993, Hopper and Macintosh, 1998, Macintosh, 1994 and Macintosh, 2002). 1 The disciplinary technologies identified by Foucault in eighteen and nineteen century institutions such as the prison, factory, barracks, schools, and mental asylums have stimulated management accounting researchers to think about, among other things, the interrelationship between accounting, discourses, institutions and mechanisms to monitor and normalize. Specific to Macintosh's work is the study of firms (exemplified by the case studies of ITT and Johnson & Johnson) as disciplinary institutions marked by management accounting systems that create abstract calculable enclosures and facilitate panoptic forms of surveillance. In his work with Hopper, Macintosh does however point out two shortcomings of the approach: First, whilst accounting controls in ITT effected a disciplinary gaze upon management, their features did not exactly mirror the principles of discipline and control detailed by Foucault. Moreover, accounting controls evolved and changed in ITT over time: accounting was not always the principal mode of control and it did not take a single form. If accounting is an expression of modernity then Foucault's bi-polar turning point for change of pre- and post-modernity cannot explicate subtle shifts in the means of control within ITT. Second, whilst Foucauldian analysis picked up the significance of discourse and disciplinary power, it failed to encompass other important factors affecting modes of control within ITT, especially financial markets, corporate relations with states and technologies. (Hopper and Macintosh, 1998, pp. 145–6) The authors also propose the need for an “eclectic and pluralistic” approach to the study of management accounting that may “pave the way … for a new social order where institutions such as hospitals, barracks, schools, factories and industrial enterprises no longer resemble prisons” (p. 148). Perhaps both the shortcomings and the hope “for a new social order” are due in part to the authors’ use of principles and technologies developed out of the modern2 “prison-form” to analyze contemporary organizations. That is, although some of Macintosh's work provides insight into some of the dilemmas we face in postmodernity (see Macintosh et al., 2000 and Macintosh et al., 2009) his analysis of ITT and Johnson & Johnson rely almost exclusively on disciplinary technologies identified by Foucault in his study of modern institutions. In Discipline and Punishment, Foucault investigates the movement from sovereign to disciplinary forms of power and the mechanisms through which they are exercised. Foucault's work is mostly historical and remains largely silent on contemporary mechanisms of power ( Haggerty and Ericson, 2000, p. 607). Deleuze's work on the “society of control” is an attempt to give some continuity to Foucault's periodization project. 3 Rather than restricting the exercise of disciplinary control within institutional boundaries, control is now flowing throughout the open social landscape. To help problematize the disciplinary approach, this analysis takes some of the features of the society of control as conceptualized by Deleuze: (1) individuals do not necessarily move from confined systems of control to another, but these are interconnected and continuous; (2) an emphasis on communication and information technologies that facilitate instant and continuous tracking of individuals throughout the open environment; and (3) individuals digitized and aggregated into large and multiple banks of information ( Deleuze, 1992). Thus, unlike Macintosh's theorization of management control systems as creating abstract calculable enclosures that bound organizations, the contents of which are impervious to the outside, 4 this article proposes management controls as extending beyond the organization: as a component of a network of information and communication technologies that target the individual throughout the open environment instantly, continuously and with heightened accurately. There has been little use of Deleuze's concepts in accounting research (for exceptions see Bayou and Reinstein, 2001, Harney, 2005 and Neu et al., 2009). One of the aims of this essay is to give further justification for the inclusion of Deleuze's work in accounting research. Similar to Neu et al. (2009), it is argued that Deleuze offers a number of concepts that draw our attention to certain properties and connections useful for the study of accounting. Although Neu et al. (2009) introduce a number of Deleuze's concepts (some developed with his co-author Guattari), for the purposes of this article I mainly focus on the society of control. In the surveillance literature, the society of control has served as a conceptual backdrop for some of the recent research on what has been called the “surveillance society” (Lyon, 2001). Within this literature, the work by Haggerty and Ericson (2000) and Haggerty (2006) takes a critical view of panoptic forms of surveillance while offering possible ways forward. The insight garnered from the post-panoptic theorization of surveillance is relevant for the purposes of this article since an important feature of a management control system is the surveillance of employees through accountability systems that include information and communication technologies such as performance measurement (Johnson and Wayland, 2010). At one level, this article is narrow in scope as it has as its prime target to question and expand Macintosh's disciplinary analysis.5 Through Deleuze's society of control we can explore Macintosh's use of Foucauldian concepts of discipline, normalization, control and surveillance in ways that break away from the weight imposed by the image of the panopticon. At another, broader, level, these observations are relevant to the research on the “porosity” of organizations (see Fleming and Spicer, 2004 and Sørensen, 2005). The accounting research has explored how management systems intersect organizational boundaries from a variety of network perspectives (see Mouritsen and Thrane, 2006, Neu et al., 2006 and Neu et al., 2009), at times emphasizing the meditative role of digital information technologies in this process (see Bhimani, 2003, Dechow et al., 2007 and Quattrone and Hopper, 2005). This article may help develop further connections between these literatures and the disciplinary work by theorizing management controls as a component of a modality of power exercised through overlapping digital information networks that extend throughout the social landscape. That is, the society of control encourages sensitivity to how management control systems are linked to other information systems. It encourages thinking of management accounting controls as engaged in a “reciprocal interdependence” (Townley, 1995, p. 570) with numerous other systems of information that may have different origins and capacities. An effect may be that of broadening, or making more ambiguous, our perception of management controls and accountability systems and the role it is said to play in creating organizational enclosures. The connectivity and ambiguity of management control systems may reveal other ways of theorizing normalization and resistance because of the increased tendency to be exposed to multiple logics simultaneously and continuously—a different level of intrusiveness is experienced which is characterized by the difficulty of avoiding capture by monitoring devices (Haggerty and Ericson, 2000, p. 619). The remainder of the paper will proceed as follows. In the next section I will discuss the use of Foucault's discipline in accounting research by referencing Macintosh's two case studies. This is followed by a section introducing some of the features of Deleuze's societies of control illustrating its relevance to management control system. The article ends with some concluding remarks on how the features of the society of control could help us extend Foucauldian ideas and potential contributions to the study of management controls.