Audit as political struggle: the doxa of managerialism clashing with the uncertainty of real life

Emma Crewe, Christopher Mowles

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Abstract

Auditing firms tend to promote rule-bound orthodoxies about management based on the fiction that the world is more predictable than it is. Managers in INGOs find that long-term planning requires endless readjustment. We explore what happens when these conflicting knowledge regimes clash during auditing. We draw on Bourdieu’s ideas to illuminate how different forms of social capital come into play in conflicting versions of management and control, whether centralised and prereflected or distributed and adaptive. In this case a conflict during audit was resolved through negotiation and the establishment of alliances, showing how being audited requires complex political skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-379
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online date19 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Audit
  • INGOs
  • uncertainty
  • managerialism

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