University of Sussex
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Doing critical dialogic accounting and accountability research: an analytical framework and case illustration

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 06:04 authored by Trevor Hopper, Farzana Tanima, Judy Brown
Purpose To present an analytic framework for conducting critical dialogic accounting and accountability-based participatory action research to further democratisation, social change, and empowering marginalised groups, and to reflect on its application in a Bangladeshi nongovernmental organisation’s microfinance program. Approach The framework, synthesising prior CDAA theorising and agonistic-inspired action research, is described, followed by a discussion of the methodological challenges when applying this during a ten-year, ongoing intervention seeking greater voice for poor, female borrowers. Findings Six methodological issues emerged: investigating contested issues rather than organisation-centric research; identifying and engaging divergent discourses; engaging marginalised groups, activists and/or dominant powerholders; addressing power and power relations; building alliances for change; and evaluating and disseminating results. We discuss these issues and how the participatory action research methods and analytic tools used evolved in response to emergent challenges, and key lessons learned in a study of microfinance and women’s empowerment. Originality The paper addresses calls within and beyond accounting to develop critical, engaged and change-oriented scholarship adopting an agonistic research methodology. It uses a novel critical dialogic accounting and accountability-based participatory action research approach. The reflexive examination of its application engaging NGOs, social activists, and poor women to challenge dominant discourses and practices, and build alliances for change, explores issues encountered. The paper concludes with reflective questions to aid researchers interested in undertaking similar studies in other contentious, power-laden areas concerning marginalised groups. Key words participatory action research, NGOs, women’s empowerment, critical dialogic accounting and accountability, agonistic research methodology


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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal





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