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The use of made-up users

Stenka, R. and Jaworska, S. ORCID: (2019) The use of made-up users. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 78. 101055. ISSN 0361-3682

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2019.07.001


While the existence of fictitious users of financial statements has been confirmed in previous research, our study investigates how this powerful yet ‘made-up’ construct is deployed within the discourses of the main stakeholders as they shape regulatory debates in the international accounting standard-setting arena, including ‘real’ users themselves. Our study draws on Bourdieu’s theorization of dominant discourse as a form of power, and extends it with the phraseological theory of meaning, specifically the linguistic concept of collocation, which focuses on the habitual choices of words in discourse. Using this framework, we conduct a comparative analysis of the recurrent language choices around the term ‘user’ in comment letters submitted on the selected IASB’s regulatory proposals. We provide empirical evidence for the existence of commonalties and subtle differences in the ways in which made-up users are discursively operationalized by the four key accounting constituent groups, the accounting profession, prepares, regulators and ‘real’ users of financial statements. At the theoretical and methodological level, our study showcases the explanatory power of the concept of collocation to identify and interrogate implicit patterns of dominant discourse as set forth by Bourdieu. We also show that the close investigation of how the dominant discourse of the made-up users works generates a series of new why questions regarding the ‘real’ users’ role in accounting standard setting.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:83892
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bourdieu, phraseological theory, collocation, dominant discourse, regulation, users, IASB, corpus-based discourse analysis, hegemony, accounting standards setting,


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