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Accountants' TruthKnowledge and Ethics in the Financial World$
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Matthew Gill

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199547142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547142.001.0001

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(p.75) 5 Pragmatism
Accountants' Truth

Matthew Gill

Oxford University Press

Accountants sometimes approach their work with a pragmatism which simply brackets the question of truthfulness out of everyday consideration. Yet even accountants disillusioned with technocratism are not always straightforward pragmatists. This chapter explores how they act according to various tacit motivational metaphors, which embody ethical imperatives that are not always reducible to mere expediency. For instance, accounting conceived as sport legitimates pushing legal boundaries, but also demands adherence to an ethos of fair play. The chapter concludes that making accountants' motivational metaphors explicit might help to enhance the ethical reasoning they use at work.

Keywords:   pragmatism, disillusionment, metaphor, strategy, risk, accounting as sport, firm as family

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