Business and Management

Accounting research seminars

Accounting research seminars take place on the following dates. Click on the seminar title for more information about each seminar and the speaker(s).

Upcoming seminars

Student-Doctoral Education Fit: Factors affecting Accounting Doctoral Timely, Untimely and Non-Completion

Wednesday 25 October from 11:15 until 12:30
Jubilee G32
Accounting Research Seminars
Anne-Marie Ward (Ulster University)

Abstract available; bio pending. Click on the seminar title for more information.

Seminar title to be confirmed

Wednesday 1 November from 0:00 until 0:00
Location to be confirmed
Accounting Research Seminars
Mitsunori Kasukabe (Hokkaido University) and Masatoshi Kosugi (Hirosaki University)

Abstract and bio pending. Click on the seminar title for more information when available.

Seminar title to be confirmed

Wednesday 22 November from 0:00 until 0:00
Location to be confirmed
Accounting Research Seminars
Minmin Xi (Coventry University London)

Abstract and bio pending. Click on the seminar title for more information when available.

Past seminars

Autumn term 2017
27 September
Accounting signifiers, political discourse, popular resistance and legal identity
Trevor Hopper (University of Sussex)


Using the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as an empirical site and drawing on Laclau and Mouffe’s (1985) discourse theory, this paper traces the discursive struggle between two discourses on the valuation and privatization of PSM. Specific signifiers were articulated and re-articulated into different chains of equivalence to create an appeal for each discourse surrounding the steel mill’s valuation. The anti-privatization discourse’s ‘success’ derived from its ‘interdiscursivity’ i.e. drawing on disparate signifiers from different meta-discourses; accounting, nationalism, state corruption and ‘informal’ signifiers such as ‘family silver’, ‘market value’ and ‘throw away price’.

In contrast, the pro-privatization discourse drew on a homogenous (financial) economics discourse using more formal and technical signifiers such as ‘going concern’ and ‘sensitivity-adjusted discounted cash flow value’. The anti-privatization discourse, with its diverse and informal (accounting) signifiers gained ‘empirical validity’, ‘narrative fidelity’, ‘and experiential commensurability’, appealed more to the masses, the media, and the judiciary. It convinced them selling PSM was a grave injustice, which must be prevented. Hence the Supreme Court reversed the privatization decision, which soured executive-judiciary relations, and led the military government to suspend the Chief Justice, and later the judiciary, media outlets, and the Constitution, which precipitated a successful social movement for an independent judiciary and the restoration of democracy. Events were shaped by the various interests of parties concerned and created new identities for them. The paper concludes by reflecting on how the findings contribute to, and add new issues for accounting research using discourse analysis.


Spring term 2017
26 April
Enacting the rhetorical potential of material objects through accounting: The Founder's Building at Royal Holloway
Christopher Napier (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Full title

Enacting the rhetorical potential of material objects through accounting: The Founder's Building at Royal Holloway, 1887-1897 - Co-author: Dr Elena Giovannoni


Drawing on archival material concerning Royal Holloway College in the early years after its foundation, we investigate how accounting can be used, in connection with physical objects, to enact the ‘rhetorical potential’ of these objects, that is, their potential to persuade and thereby to produce effects or affordances for action. In particular, we explore how, under evolving circumstances, Royal Holloway College’s main building was given different meanings by internal and external parties, as a palace, a public school, a charity school, a building on a ‘lower scale’ than similar colleges, and even as non-existent, providing different ‘rhetorical re‑presentations’. The invention of different accountings followed these re‑presentations, offered their own accounting rhetorics and stimulated new meanings, feeding back into the rhetorical re‑presentations. This cycle of invention facilitated various rhetorical uses of the building, which were intended to persuade both internal and external parties to ‘view’ the building in particular ways at different times, and thus to achieve specific material effects and affordances for action. We demonstrate that rhetorical potential emerges from the physical form and presence of an object, but, through being enabled for different purposes, rhetorical potential can transcend physicality. Also, we show that accounting rhetoric is not just a matter of visual technical signs but is also related to the way in which accounting re-presentations are able to enact the rhetorical potential of the objects that they re‑present.


Christopher Napier is Professor of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London.

2 May
Risk management in local authorities: an application of Schatzki’s social site ontology
Carolyn Cordery (Aston University)


The purpose of the study is to examine how risk management (RM) is organized and practiced within territorial local authorities (LAs). LAs operate in a complex and dynamic environment which gives rise to multiple and conflicting stakeholder demands. RM provides a potentially effective mechanism to handle these conflicts. We use Schatzki’s social site ontology to analyse RM practices organized by four elements: rules, understandings, teleo-affective structures and material arrangements.

We conducted in-depth interviews with managers across different levels, attended public meetings and analysed documents of two New Zealand LAs facing similar seismic events. The comparative analysis of data collected from these two LAs reveal that rules, understanding and teleo-affective structures interact with each other in constituting RM practices. While both LAs utilise similar RM rules, they vary significantly in organizing and managing risks, due to the ambiguities of the teleology and the differences in understandings.

These ambiguities and differences lead to the generation of two different RM (silo-based and collective-based) preferences and tendencies. This contextualizes the use of accounting controls to either legitimize the hierarchically allocated risk management tasks and processes or encourage discussions between people at different organizational levels to generate multiple interpretations on the meaning and management of risks. In these processes, accounting also helps generate and promote certain affections (feeling of mattering and fear of wrong decisions), which limits the functioning of systems and structures adopted by organizations for dealing with risks.

This study adds a constitutive and dynamic view to the contingent- and functionalist-theory based literature on risk management of organizations.


Carolyn Cordery joined Aston Business School in January 2017 from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her research focuses on not for profit organisations' accounting and accountability, including charities and sports clubs. She is particularly interested in how these organisations are resourced (by donors/philanthropists, grants, contracts, volunteers, etc.) and the resource constraints that cause many of these organisations to be financially vulnerable. Currently she is Joint Editor of Third Sector Review (the Journal of on Australia and New Zealand Third Sector Research), on the editorial board of Accounting History and Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. She was a member of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board from 2011-2016 and New Zealand’s Lotteries Community Sector Research Committee for a similar period. Professionally, she is a Fellow of both Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia.

She has undertaken a number of commissioned research projects, and publish work in relevant leading international journals such as: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Accounting History, Financial Accountability and Management, Accounting & Finance and Public Money and Management.  My paper ‘Accounting History and Religion: a review of studies and a research agenda’ (Accounting History, 20(4) pp 430-463) won the 2015 Robert W. Gibson Manuscript Award.