Negotiations of accounting figures and the individualizing effects of hierarchical accountability

Grisard, Claudine and Graham, Cameron and Annisette, Marcia (2017) Negotiations of accounting figures and the individualizing effects of hierarchical accountability. In: European Accounting Association (EAA) Annual Conference 2017, 2017-05-10 - 2017-05-12, University of Valencia.

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This paper explores the struggles taking place in the backstage of a decision-making committee to offer a typology of the actions that actors develop to influence a project they work on, but for which they are not the decision makers. Instead of looking on the process of decision-making, we concentrate on people constructing and gathering the information that are latter use by decisions makers. We try to understand how those people are able to influence a decision on which they are not invited to take part of. We take the specific example of an affordable phone to connect rural areas and of two groups of employees who work on the development of the project. The first group wants to stop the project while the second want one to pursue it. We study the actions of each group to influence the production of accounting numbers, which serve as key variable for the decision makers. First, by highlighting the importance of the variety of hierarchical layers within the process of decision making. Second, we show three different categories of actions, all of which related to a different moment of the production of an accounting result, serving as the main indicator to make the decision