Changing regimes of governance in a less developed country

Alawattage, C. and Wickramasinghe, D. (2008) Changing regimes of governance in a less developed country. Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies, 8, pp. 273-310. (doi:10.1016/S1479-3563(08)08010-9)

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper examines the changing regimes of governance and the roles of accounting therein in a less developed country (LDC) by using Sri Lanka tea plantations as a case. It captures the changes in a chronological analysis, which identifies four regimes of governance: (a) pre-colonial, (b) colonial, (c) post-colonial and (d) neo-liberal. It shows how dialectics between political state, civil state and the economy affected changes in regimes of governance and accounting through evolving structures, processes and contents of governance.

Methodology – It draws on the works of Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polanyi to articulate a political economy framework. It provides contextual accounts from the Sri Lankan political history and case data from its tea plantations for the above chronological analysis.

Findings – The above four regimes of governance had produced four modes of accounting: (a) a system of rituals in the despotic kingship, (b) a system of monitoring and reporting to absentee Sterling capital in the despotic imperialism, (c) a system of ceremonial reporting to state capital in a politicised hegemony and (d) good governance attempts in a politicised hegemony conditioned by global capital. We argue that political processes and historical legacies rather than the assumed superiority of accounting measures gave shape to governance regimes. Governance did not operate in its ideal forms, but ‘good governance’ initiatives revitalised accounting roles across managerial agency to strengthening stewardship rather than penetrating it into the domain of labour controls. Managerial issues emerged from contradictions between political state, civil state and the economy (enterprise) constructed themselves a distinct political domain within which accounting had little role to play, despite the ambitious aims of good governance.

Originality – Most accounting and governance research has used economic theories and provided ahistorical analysis. This paper provides a historically informed chronological analysis using a political economy framework relevant to LDC contexts, and empirically demonstrates how actual governance structures and processes lay in broader socio-political structures, and how the success of good governance depends on the social and political behaviour of these structural properties.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wickramasinghe, Professor Danture
Authors: Alawattage, C., and Wickramasinghe, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies
ISSN:1479-3563

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