Governance, Tax and Folk Tales
Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39(2), 134-147, 2014
50 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2014
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: Suggested Citation