The first “EIASM Workshop on Preventing Accounting Scandals: Practices and Practitioners” took place at the International University of Monaco, on March 14-15, 2019.
Its formal aim was resolutely oriented toward the stimulation of research diversity, and the development of a collective agenda regarding promising future research areas. As stated in the original call for papers, the Workshop aimed “to explore practices and practitioners behind accounting scandals under different perspectives and to bring out new research questions on this area.”
A total of 15 papers were presented at the Workshop, from authors coming from nine countries and three continents. Ten of these papers were qualitative whereas five were quantitative – all aiming, in different ways, to examine different aspects of the backstage of
scandals and fraud.
Accounting scandals, collusion and fraud constitute for many people outrageous and highly detrimental events – definitively one of the most pressing and enduring social problems surrounding the domain of business (Neu et al., 2013). From a longitudinal perspective,
these events are characterized by a sense of continuity, in spite of the significant resources that organizations and society invest in terms of strengthening regulation and control (Guénin-Paracini et al., 2014). A range of technological apparatuses as well as diverse forms
of expertise are recurrently proposed in trying to bring this enduring social problem more and more in the purview of controllability. Yet fraud and fraudsters stubbornly resist. It is also worth noting that significant jurisdictional contests (Abbott, 1988) have taken place
around the fraud problem.
From an academic perspective, the litany of fraud and accounting scandals is undeniably of great intellectual interest, not least because of the extent of disruptive effects that each specific case tends to engender. A range of enigmatic and inspiring research questions come
to mind as significant targets of scholarly examination. Why do people engage in fraudulent behaviors? How does society make sense of financial and accounting scandals? How are such scandals represented and constructed – in the press, the social media, and wider society?
What consequences ensue from these constructions? Recognizing that disruptive events tend to engender, within society and organizations, a dynamics of change and continuity (Malsch & Gendron, 2013), how does the dynamics play out in the context of specific scandals and fraud cases? To what extent do scandals result in scapegoating processes and, quite “miraculously”, in the reinvigoration of control expectations and promises? Whose interests and what forms of expertise benefit from the continuity of accounting scandals and organizational fraud? What parties are marginalized along the way?
Of course, research has endeavored to investigate these important questions (e.g., Cooper et al., 2013). Yet the complexity of fraud behavior, collusion and accounting scandals (e.g., motivation of fraudster, fraud scheme being used, claims to expertise promoted to offer solutions, etc.) imply a continual need to develop and update knowledge. Fraud and scandals are not fixed in time and space. On the contrary, a wide range of perspectives and methods are required in order to develop what will irremediably remain as a partial understanding of the phenomenon.
Read the full-article on the European Accounting Association website
Domenico Campa, International University of Monaco
Aude Deville, Université de Nice – IAE
Yves Gendron, Université Laval