Accounting Colonization, Emancipation and Instrumental Compliance in Nigeria

34 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

Date Written: April 22, 2020


This study explores the extent to which designs for accounting change and accounting colonization can be absorbed through a devious compliance/implementation that deflects new interpretive schemes. To do so, it conducts an in-depth analysis of two contrasting Nigerian public service organizational cases, in which there was an ostensible search for improvements in financial governance. While one of the cases indicates how accounting colonization involved change through an ostensibly coercive accounting design, the other case organization employed budget assurances to deliver public service consistent with an ostensibly more emancipatory design. In both cases, instrumental compliance with the accounting design did not occur during implementation as a devious compliance took hold. Consequently, the delivery of priorities was not exactly as intended. This study contributes to the theorising of emancipatory/oppressive accounting, including vis-à-vis accounting colonization, by providing evidence of both the coercive and emancipatory dimensions of accounting design in this context. In addition, it highlights the relevance of a closely observed and nuanced approach to analysing accounting in action, which is of significant importance to policy-makers and other social actors.

Keywords: Accounting, Colonization, Emancipation, Public Services, Nigeria

Suggested Citation

Adegbite, Emmanuel, Accounting Colonization, Emancipation and Instrumental Compliance in Nigeria (April 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Emmanuel Adegbite (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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