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The houbara bustard: a thematic analysis of a bird's threatened extinction and a government's accountability failure


Adler, R and Mansi, M and Pandey, R, The houbara bustard: a thematic analysis of a bird's threatened extinction and a government's accountability failure, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal Article online ahead of print. ISSN 1368-0668 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/AAAJ-07-2019-4113


Purpose: This paper provides a thematic analysis of an IUCN Red-Listed bird, the houbara bustard, which Pakistan uses as a fungible resource to appease its wealthy Arab benefactors.

Design/methodology/approach: Thematic analysis of relevant media reports and government ministry and NGO websites comprise the studyís data. Media reports were located using Dow Jonesí Factiva database.

Findings: Pakistanís Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues wealthy Arabs special permits for hunting the houbara bustard as a "soft" foreign diplomacy strategy aimed at propping up the countryís fragile economy. Although illegal under international and Pakistanís own wildlife laws, resource dependence theory helps explain how various country-specific issues (e.g. dysfunctional political and judicial systems) enable Pakistanís unlawful exchange of hunting permits for Arab oil and short-term financing. Surrogate accountability and agencement are examined as two means for arresting the birdís trajectory toward extinction.

Research limitations/implications: Media reports comprise the primary data. Pakistani government officials were approached for interviews, but failed to reply. Although unfortunate, the pervasive corruption and mistrust that characterise Pakistanís culture would have likely tainted the responses. For this reason, media reports were always the primary data sought.

Originality/value: The present study extends prior literature by exploring how country context can subvert the transferability of social and political approaches used in developed countries to address environmental accounting issues and challenges. As this study shows, a developing countryís economic vulnerability, combined with its dysfunctional political systems, impotent judiciary and feckless regulatory mechanisms, can undermine legislation meant to protect the countryís natural environment, in general, and a threatened birdís existence, in particular.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Pakistan, accountability, resource dependence theory, extinction accounting
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Sustainability accounting and reporting
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Environmental ethics
UTAS Author:Mansi, M (Dr Mansi Mansi)
UTAS Author:Pandey, R (Dr Rakesh Pandey)
ID Code:141774
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2020-11-18
Last Modified:2020-12-10

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