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Numbers in motion

Stenka, R. and Kokot, P. (2015) Numbers in motion. In: Financial Reporting and Business Communication Annual Conference, 2 - 3 July 2015, University of Bristol, UK.

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We explore the debates surrounding the constructive and discursive capabilities of accounting information focusing in particular on the reception volatility of numbers once they are produced and ‘exposed’ to various communities of minds. Drawing on Goffman’s (1974) frame analysis and Vollmer’s (2007) work on the three-dimensional character of numerical signs, we explore how numbers can go through gradual or instantaneous transformations, get caught up in public debates and become ‘agents’ or ‘captives’ in creating social order and in some cases social drama. In our analysis we also relate to the work of Durkheim (1993, 2002) on the sociology of morality to illustrate how numbers can become indicators of moral transgression. The study explores both historical and contemporary examples of controversies and recent accounting scandals to demonstrate how preparers (of financial information) can lose control over numbers which then acquire new meanings through social context and collective (re)framing. The main contribution of the study is to illustrate how the narratives attached to numbers are malleable and fluid across both time and space.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:45495

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