Taking pluralism seriously:Embedded moralities in management accounting and control systems

Jesse Dillard, Robin Roslender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Professor Norman Macintosh has long been a leading, and at times a dissonant, voice in critical accounting studies, exhibiting an intellectual dexterity seldom encountered in the accounting academy. His work ranges from the application of traditional organizational theories within work organizations to poststructural renderings of capital market exigencies. Here, we consider and extend Professor Macintosh's work contemplating the morality embedded within, and propagated by, management accounting and control systems (macs). We begin with Macintosh (1995) employing structuration theory in investigating the ethics of profit manipulation within large, decentralized corporations. The work highlights the fundamental dialectical contradictions within these work organizations, demonstrates the indeterminacy of traditional ethical reasoning, and shows the extent to which macs provide legitimating underpinnings for management action. We propose to extend the conversation using the tools provided in Macintosh's subsequent work: a Levinasian ethic (Macintosh et al., 2009), and heteroglossic accounting (Macintosh, 2002)—both emerging from his poststructuralist predilections. A Levinasian perspective provides an ontologically grounded ethic, and heteroglossic accounting calls for multiple accountings representing alternative moral voices. A critical dialogic framework is proposed as a theoretic for imagining heteroglossic accounting that takes pluralism seriously by recognizing the reality of irresolvable differences and asymmetric power relationships associated with assorted moral perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135–147
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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pluralism
control system
morality
management
moral philosophy
university teacher
structuration
capital market
Management control systems
Morality
Pluralism
Management accounting systems
academy
manipulation
corporation
profit
conversation
Work organization
Capital markets
Critical accounting

Cite this

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title = "Taking pluralism seriously:Embedded moralities in management accounting and control systems",
abstract = "Professor Norman Macintosh has long been a leading, and at times a dissonant, voice in critical accounting studies, exhibiting an intellectual dexterity seldom encountered in the accounting academy. His work ranges from the application of traditional organizational theories within work organizations to poststructural renderings of capital market exigencies. Here, we consider and extend Professor Macintosh's work contemplating the morality embedded within, and propagated by, management accounting and control systems (macs). We begin with Macintosh (1995) employing structuration theory in investigating the ethics of profit manipulation within large, decentralized corporations. The work highlights the fundamental dialectical contradictions within these work organizations, demonstrates the indeterminacy of traditional ethical reasoning, and shows the extent to which macs provide legitimating underpinnings for management action. We propose to extend the conversation using the tools provided in Macintosh's subsequent work: a Levinasian ethic (Macintosh et al., 2009), and heteroglossic accounting (Macintosh, 2002)—both emerging from his poststructuralist predilections. A Levinasian perspective provides an ontologically grounded ethic, and heteroglossic accounting calls for multiple accountings representing alternative moral voices. A critical dialogic framework is proposed as a theoretic for imagining heteroglossic accounting that takes pluralism seriously by recognizing the reality of irresolvable differences and asymmetric power relationships associated with assorted moral perspectives.",
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Taking pluralism seriously:Embedded moralities in management accounting and control systems. / Dillard, Jesse; Roslender, Robin.

In: Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 22, No. 2, 02.2011, p. 135–147.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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