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The Struggle to Fabricate Accounting Narrative Obfuscation: An Actor-Network-Theoretic Analysis of a Failing Project

Rutherford, Brian A. (2016) The Struggle to Fabricate Accounting Narrative Obfuscation: An Actor-Network-Theoretic Analysis of a Failing Project. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 13 (1). pp. 57-85. ISSN 1176-6093. (doi:10.1108/QRAM-06-2015-0060) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/QRAM-06-2015-0060

Abstract

Purpose – This study sets out to analyse the accounting research project concerned with accounting narrative obfuscation, focusing on the translation of the concept of readability from educational psychology via an earlier literature concerned with the readability of accounting narratives per se. Design/methodology/approach – This paper employs actor-network theory and examines, in particular, the need for a network to accommodate the interests of its actors and the consequent risk of failure. Findings – The analysis shows that the project is failing because the network seeking to support it is failing, and failing because of its inability to adapt sufficiently to accommodate the interests of its constituents. This failure is contrasted with the earlier concern with readability per se, which did see a successful reconfiguration of actors’ interests. Research limitations/implications – The puzzle of the maladjustment of the network concerned with obfuscation is examined and it is suggested that it is a consequence of interests prevailing in the wider academic research network within which the relevant human actors are embedded. Social implications – The reasons for the failure of the project are bound up in the wider circumstances of the contemporary accounting research community and may affect scholars’ capacity to pursue knowledge effectively. Originality/value – This paper contributes to a modest stream of actor-network analysis directed at accounting research itself.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/QRAM-06-2015-0060
Uncontrolled keywords: Accounting narratives; obfuscation; actor-network theory; non-human actors; network failure
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School > Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: B. Rutherford
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2016 14:31 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:34 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56288 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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