Understanding the application of Actor-Network Theory in the process of accounting change

O'Connell, Brendan, Ciccotosto, Susan, and De Lange, Paul (2014) Understanding the application of Actor-Network Theory in the process of accounting change. In: Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference. From: Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference, 7-9 July 2014, Toronto, Canada.

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Abstract

Actor-Network Theory (ANT) has been used as a lens by a number of researchers to guide their inquiry (see, for example, Ezzamel, 1994; Robson, 1991; Lowe, 2004; Becker, Jagalla, and Skærbæk, 2013 ). The purpose of this paper is to provide an appraisal of the use of ANT in the accounting literature. We examine articles which consider how ANT is used as a framework in a management accounting change context. In doing so, we provide some clarity in guiding the endeavors of future researchers’ who may want to use ANT as their theoretical foundation.

Our analysis of the ANT studies shows several themes. For example, the potential for accounting to be an effective mechanism for achieving long-distance control and the power of accounting to be used as a rationale for institutional or system change. However, our investigation revealed a range of limitations in the accounting research application of ANT from which we can deduce lessons for future research. For example, there has been a tendency for some studies to overemphasize the human/social element and to downplay the role of nonhuman actors in the network.

Item ID: 34366
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Keywords: Actor-Network Theory, Latour, actors, networks
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2014 05:31
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150199 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified @ 50%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150105 Management Accounting @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services @ 100%
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