Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Management Control in a Voluntary Organization: Accounting and Accountants in Organizational Contest

Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Management Control in a Voluntary Organization: Accounting and Accountants in Organizational Contest

Article excerpt

Peter Booth, Management Control in a Voluntary Organization: Accounting and Accountants in Organizational Contest ( New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995, 280 pp., $53).

Reviewed by Rodney R. Michael Michigan Technological University

There is much to admire in Booth's in-depth study of accounting processes within an Australian religious organization. His methodology and interpretations provide a tightly woven argument that could serve as a model for future archival studies by researchers with an inclination toward critical perspectives. By combining archival evidence, semi-quantitative techniques and interpretive arguments, Booth leads the reader through the murky series of associations that both defines and explains the cultural origins of accounting's rise to organizational significance.

A particularly appealing feature of this book is Booth's forthright approach and writing style. Although lapsing occasionally into critical jargon, Booth avoids obfuscation. Assumptions are clearly stated, research techniques are self-critiqued, and reasonable attention is given to alternative explanations. In short, although one may disagree with Booth's philosophy, his methodology is sound.

At first reading, Booth's work, which is based upon his doctoral thesis, appears to flirt with pedantry. For example, similar to a dissertation, the first three chapters (100 pages) are devoted to background and rationale, an overview of a critical structuralist perspective, and a description of the research method, respectively. However, this lengthy preamble is justifiable since it provides a necessary background for readers unfamiliar with critical perspectives.

The actual analysis begins with the fourth chapter, which defines the organization's accounting systems and discusses the emergence of a financial crisis. …

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