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The rules are no game From instrumental rationality to administrative evil

The rules are no game From instrumental rationality to administrative evil Purpose – Sees to argues that administrative evil is inherent in the administrative hierarchies currently governing work organizations, and to explore the means by which instrumentally rational processes morph into administrative evil. Design/methodology/approach – A critical theory methodology for identifying and describing administrative evil is outlined. Findings – Administrative evil refers to the use of technology, professionals, and hierarchical organizational structures in ways that divorce collective actions from their moral context. The role of technical accounting expertise, manifested as various devices, facilitates “ordinary” human beings' “rational” participation in “administrative evil” through a series of technically competent and instrumentally rational decisions, facilitated by information technology. Research limitations/implications – Divorcing actions from their moral context removes a sense of personal responsibility and accountability on the part of the organizational participants and renders public interest considerations captive to prevailing ideology and social structures. Practical implications – By better understanding the facilitating processes of administrative evil, possibly one can begin to develop alternative criteria that empower individuals to circumvent the negative consequences of instrumental rationality and enable them to act more responsibly in the public interest. Originality/value – Critical theory is used in better understanding administrative evil and in developing strategies for change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

The rules are no game From instrumental rationality to administrative evil

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References (67)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/09513570510620475
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Sees to argues that administrative evil is inherent in the administrative hierarchies currently governing work organizations, and to explore the means by which instrumentally rational processes morph into administrative evil. Design/methodology/approach – A critical theory methodology for identifying and describing administrative evil is outlined. Findings – Administrative evil refers to the use of technology, professionals, and hierarchical organizational structures in ways that divorce collective actions from their moral context. The role of technical accounting expertise, manifested as various devices, facilitates “ordinary” human beings' “rational” participation in “administrative evil” through a series of technically competent and instrumentally rational decisions, facilitated by information technology. Research limitations/implications – Divorcing actions from their moral context removes a sense of personal responsibility and accountability on the part of the organizational participants and renders public interest considerations captive to prevailing ideology and social structures. Practical implications – By better understanding the facilitating processes of administrative evil, possibly one can begin to develop alternative criteria that empower individuals to circumvent the negative consequences of instrumental rationality and enable them to act more responsibly in the public interest. Originality/value – Critical theory is used in better understanding administrative evil and in developing strategies for change.

Journal

Accounting Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2005

Keywords: Business ethics; Work organization; Accounting; Management accountability

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