Sub-theme 34: The Rise of Accountability: Rethinking Management Accounting, Control and Organization Theory

Max Visser
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Mahmoud Ezzamel
Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK, and IE Business School, Madrid, Spain
Ed Vosselman
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Call for Papers


In the past decades organizations in the public and private sector have faced challenges to become more accountable in terms of their social, financial and ecological impact. The Enron, Ahold, WorldCom and Parmalat financial scandals and more generally the banking crises of the past years have instigated public calls for more stringent financial accountability. Likewise, recent ecological disasters involving BP (Gulf of Mexico), Shell (Nigeria, Brent Spar) and other multinational corporations have led to public demands for increasing corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability. Under the sway of New Public Management, public sector organizations have been challenged to become more responsive to citizens' needs and problems and more accountable for their contributions to realizing public values and delivering public goods.

These developments also provide new challenges to different fields of organizational scholarship. Scholars in the field of organizational theory need to rethink how organizations can become more transparent in their internal processes, more humane in their transactions with internal and external stakeholders, and more adept at learning from past crises and problems in order to avoid future crises. Similarly, accounting scholars need to rethink how management control systems can help organizations to become more publicly accountable, how accounting technologies can help organizations to look beyond mere financial targets, and how performance measurement systems can help organizations to influence management and employee behaviors in socially, financially and ecologically more desirable directions.

In spite of their importance and their mutual effects, research in the accounting and organizational theory disciplines has tended to be separate from each other. This is disappointing, given that the disciplines of accounting and organization theory have strong affinities with each other. More recently, however, research in accounting has emphasized organizational and behavioral aspects of control and decision making in organizations, underscoring the embeddedness of accounting technologies in their wider organizational and societal settings. Likewise, recent research in organization theory has begun to focus upon control systems from a practice or process perspective and to explore the implications of these systems in broader social, financial and ecological terms. Moreover, both disciplines share an interest in researching how control systems are designed and implemented and the impact these systems have on organizations.

Given these converging trends, in this sub-theme we propose to bring researchers interested in the interface between organization theory and accounting together in order to rethink and reshape important organizational research issues and challenges with an interdisciplinary focus. Therefore we invite conceptual and empirical papers from both disciplines that aim to address the cogent issues facing current public and private sector organizations. In theoretical terms, we take a broad view, welcoming papers that adopt a variety of theoretical perspectives.


Max Visser is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics of the Nijmegen School of Management since 2012. His current research interests include the relations between organizational learning and systems of accounting & control, in particular in public and governmental organizations. Further, he is interested in the interrelations between governance, performance and behavior in organizations. He has published in numerous scholarly journals in management and organization theory, including 'Academy of Management Review', 'Management Learning', 'Human Resource Management Review', 'System Dynamics Review', 'The Learning Organization' and 'Journal of Management Development'.
Mahmoud Ezzamel is a Professorial Fellow at Cardiff Business School (UK) since 2000 and Professor at IE Business School, Madrid (Spain) since 2011. His current research interests include the emergence and use of management accounting practices, behavioral accounting and accountability in the public sector, accounting history, and corporate governance. He has published in numerous scholarly journals in organization theory and accounting, including 'Administrative Science Quarterly', 'Academy of Management Journal', 'Accounting', 'Organizations & Society', 'Management Accounting Research', 'Organization Studies', 'Organization', 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Accounting & Business Research', 'Journal of Corporate Finance' and 'Journal of Business Finance and Accounting'.
Ed Vosselman is Professor of Accounting at the Department of Economics of the Nijmegen School of Management since 2005, and a Professor of Management Control in the Public Sector at the Free University Amsterdam since 2011. His current research interests include control in intra- and interfirm relationships, and performance management in both the private and the public sector. He has published in numerous scholarly journals in management and accounting, including 'Accounting', 'Organizations & Society', 'Management Accounting Research', 'Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change', 'Journal of Organizational Change Management', 'Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management', 'Advances in Management Accounting' and 'International Journal of Management'.