“Translation in the ‘contact zone’ between accounting and human resource management: The nebulous idea of humans as assets and resources

Amanze Ejiogu, Chibuzo Ejiogu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to develop an understanding of the process through which ideas are translated across disciplines. It does this by focusing on how the idea that people are corporate assets was translated between the accounting and human resource management disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on the interpretation of a historical case study of the travel of ideas between the accounting and human resource management disciplines. Translation is used as an analytical lens as opposed to being the object of the study and is theorised drawing on insights from the Scandinavian Institutionalist School, skopos theory and linguistic translation techniques.

Findings: Translation by individual translators involved the translator stepping across disciplinary boundaries. However, translation performed by interdisciplinary teams occurs in the “contact zone” between disciplines. In this zone, both disciplines are, at once source and target. Ideas are translated by editing and fusing them. In both cases, translation is value laden as the motives of the translators determine the translation techniques used. Legitimacy and gravitas of the translator, as well as contextual opportunities, influence the spread of the idea while disciplinary norms limit its ability to become institutionalised. Also, differential application of the same translation rule leads to heterogenous outcomes.

Originality/value: This is the first accounting translation study to use the theories of the Scandinavian Institutionalist School or indeed combine these with linguistic translation techniques. It is also the first study in accounting which explores the translation of ideas across disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1932-1956
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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