Changing control and accounting regimes in an african gold mine: emergence of new despotic control

Hopper, Trevor, Tsamenyi, Mathew and Uddin, Shahzad (2017) Changing control and accounting regimes in an african gold mine: emergence of new despotic control. Journal of Accounting and Organisational Change, 13 (2). pp. 282-308. ISSN 1832-5912

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Purpose – To examine whether the framework of management accounting transformations in Hopper et al. (2009) applies to accounting changes in the Ashanti Gold Corporation (AGC) in Ghana over 120 years from pre-colonialism to recent times.

Design/methodology/approach – Mixed data sources are used, namely interviews, observations of practices, historical documentation, company reports, and research papers and theses. The results are categorized within the periods and contextual factors in the Hopper et al. framework.

Findings –The Hopper et al. model was robust. Despotic controls with minimal management accounting but stewardship accounting to the head office in London prevailed under colonialism. Upon independence state capitalist policies descended into politicized state capitalism. Under nationalization the performance of mines deteriorated and accounting became decoupled from operations. However, AGC remained privately owned, it embraced profit centres and budgeting, and was relatively successful commercially. In the early 1980s fiscal crises forced Ghana’s government to turn to the World Bank and IMF for loans. Their conditions precipitated market capitalism embracing widespread privatisations. This marked a gradual transformation of AGC into a foreign multinational, organized along divisional lines that today exercises despotic control through supply chain management that renders labour precarious, and neglects corporate social accounting.

Practical implications – The work challenges neo-classical economic prescriptions and analyses of accounting in developing countries by indicating its neglect of the interests of other stakeholders, especially labour and civil society.

Originality/value – The paper tests and extends the Hopper et al. framework with respect to a large private multinational in the commodity sector over an extended period.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Ghana, Ashanti Gold, accounting change, development policies
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF1021 Commercial geography. Economic geography
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0661 Social control
Depositing User: Trevor Hopper
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2018 09:24
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2018 09:30

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