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.
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2002
Keywords: Knowledge workers; Language; Economic systems; Communications
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