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Economic man and disciplinary boundaries: a case-study in corporate annual reports


White, RD and Hanson, DJ, Economic man and disciplinary boundaries: a case-study in corporate annual reports, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 15, (4) pp. 450-477. ISSN 0951-3574 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1108/09513570210440559


This paper is an empirical response to two of Quattrone's claims: first, that research in accounting is fragmented; and then that this follows from the blocking of communication by intra- and inter-disciplinary boundaries. Although we agree with much of Quattrone's argument, and in particular with his problematising of “economic man”, we draw an opposite conclusion. Rather than looking to a trans-disciplinary removal of boundaries, we use a survey of 30 years of research in corporate annual reports to defend narrowly disciplinary work. We make our case through discussing problems of intra- and inter-disciplinary unity in research, the puzzle of the role of “economic man” in the study of annual reports, and the alternative to him in science and technology studies (STS). Our approach yields a better fit than Quattrone's own solution with his aims of an evolutionary perspective that allows for historical shifts, and for a reflexivity that includes the inevitable entanglement of researchers in what they study. We conclude by noting that our approach is applicable to the study of corporate communication more generally. © 2002, MCB UP Limited

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Auditing and accountability
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Work and labour market not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:White, RD (Dr Robert White)
UTAS Author:Hanson, DJ (Dr Dallas Hanson)
ID Code:24136
Year Published:2002
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2003-05-19

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