Accessibility navigation

For the public without the public

Stenka, R. and Grossi, G. (2015) For the public without the public. In: International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) Annual Conference, March 2015, Birmingham, UK.

[img] Text - Accepted Version
· Restricted to Repository staff only
· The Copyright of this document has not been checked yet. This may affect its availability.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

Official URL:


How is the notion of public interest operationalised in the regulatory practices of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)? A fundamental objective in setting international accounting standards for both the private and public sector is to serve the ‘public interest’. Who or what constitutes ‘public interest’ however remains a highly complex and controversial issue. Private sector financial reporting research posits that users (of financial information) are used as a proxy for the ‘public’ and users are further refined to current and potential investors - a small proportion of the public. The debates surrounding public interest are even more contentious in public sector financial reporting which deals with ‘public’ (tax payers’) money. In our study we use Bourdieu’s notion of semi-homogenous fields to show how autonomous and heteronomous pressures from the epistemic community of the accounting profession and political/government interests compete for the right to define the public interest and determine how (by what accounting solutions) this interest is best served. This is a theoretical study grounded in the analysis of empirical data from interviews with the board members of the IPSASB. The main contribution of the paper is to further our understanding of the perceptions of the main decision makers from the ‘inner regulatory circle’ with regards to the problematic construct of public interest. The main findings suggest a paternal and un-reflexive attitude of the board members leading to the conclusion that the public have no real voice in these matters.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:45492

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation