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Reproduction of efficiency through management accounting practices: socio-economic, environmental and human consequences of NPM reforms

Barrios-Álvarez, C., Adhikari, P., Salifu, E. ORCID:, Gómez-Mejía, A. and Giraldo-Villano, X. (2023) Reproduction of efficiency through management accounting practices: socio-economic, environmental and human consequences of NPM reforms. Financial Accountability & Management. ISSN 1468-0408

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/faam.12386


Using Giddens (1984) Structuration Theory (ST), in this paper we illustrate how the efficiency-driven approaches adopted by a large stated-owned public company in Latin America (LAMC) implicitly resulted in triggering a dam disaster with far-reaching socio-economic, environmental and human consequences. Data for the study were derived through document analysis and conducting unstructured, semi-structured, and email interviews. Our findings show that the internalisation of efficiency as a corporate value at LAMC was further rationalised through the adoption of new public management (NPM)-based management accounting practices (MAPs) embedded within the market-led development approach. These MAPs connected agencies and structures in a dialectic way and continued reproducing efficiency through day-to-day operations and by enabling the company to champion itself as a successful NPM adopter. However, throughout this process, the socio-environmental and human costs relating to ‘the dam project’ were overlooked, making the disaster inevitable. The paper questions the market-led development approach, and NPM-based MAPs, and calls for further empirical work delineating how MAPs can be implicated in public value creation and promoting publicness in emerging economies. Such work is of paramount importance not only to prevent the ‘unexpected and unwanted effects of public sector accounting’ under NPM and market-led development but also to save the lives and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable community members in emerging economies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:114315
Uncontrolled Keywords:market-led development, management accounting practices, emerging economies, efficiency and NPM reforms


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