Governance, Tax and Folk Tales

Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39(2), 134-147, 2014

50 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2014

See all articles by Kevin Morrell

Kevin Morrell

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Penelope Tuck

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This paper develops a particular narratological approach to analyse a common category of narratives: individuals’ accounts of their organization’s context and purpose. In two phases of interview research with 45 senior UK accounting professionals (tax officials, tax advisors to, and tax directors of, multinational companies) we focus on a pivotal period in the governance of UK taxation. We advocate analysing what ordinarily could be called 'real world' narratives about this context as if they were folk tales. This approach draws on an influential analysis of folk tales by Propp. Our theoretical contribution is to show how features of strong or dominant plots, of the kind that structure folk tales, also help accounting professionals to make sense of this complex governance environment. This helps us understand personal projects of sense making in a context that is technically, legally and morally complex and has implications for governance, for policy and for accounting as a professional project.

Keywords: accounting, emplotment, governance, narrative, Propp, tax, tax evasion, tax avoidance

JEL Classification: M40, H26, E62

Suggested Citation

Morrell, Kevin and Tuck, Penelope, Governance, Tax and Folk Tales (2014). Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39(2), 134-147, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2460297

Kevin Morrell (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Penelope Tuck

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

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