Accounting and the firm as impure calculating devices: making, unmaking and remaking a black box
|Speaker:||Will Seal, Loughborough University|
|Date:||Tuesday 17 May 2016|
|Time:||14:30 - 16:00|
|Location:||Streatham Court 0.28|
Building on Callon’s insights on entangling and disentangling, an analysis of business support service provision sheds new light on the calculative characteristics of accounting and the firm. A calculative perspective offers a more fine-grained approach in comparison with the usual contractual frameworks. From a calculative perspective, the provision of support services may be seen as part of a general problem of dealing with overhead/indirect costs. Characterising the divisionalised company as an example of how a black box may be fabricated, the paper traces the processes of translation which sees the captive shared service organization (CSSO) emerge as a new black box in a remade divisionalised structure. Although from a Callonistic perspective, the accounting calculations associated with the CSSO are necessarily impure, the front office/back office split and IT-enabled work monitoring indicate that the CSSO is enmeshed in an exceptionally supportive network based on the Taylorisation of white collar activities.
Key words: business support services - entangling/disentangling – calculation – black box – translation