Management accounting and power: A contested relationship
João A. Ribeiro
Robert W. Scapens
This paper is structured in two parts. In the first part we undertake a brief discussion on the concept of power and we explore the way this concept has been regarded in several strands of literature on management accounting – the conventional, the contingency, the pluralist, the interpretive, the critical and the post-structuralist. Some of these strands – for instance, the pluralist, the critical and the post-structuralist – explicitly recognise the importance of (some conception of) power in their approach to management accounting in society and organisations. Other approaches are less explicit in that recognition or simply overlook/reject it. The second part of the paper takes sides, departing from the idea that there is a relationship between management accounting and power and proposes a framework for conceptualising that relationship. This framework attempts to bring together different dimensions/conceptions of power, and is proposed as a way to study management accounting and its change within organisations.
power, management accounting, change, circuits of power
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