Translation in the ‘contact zone’ between accounting and human resource management: The nebulous idea of humans as assets and resources
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of the process through which ideas are translated across disciplines. It does this by focussing on how the idea that people are corporate assets was translated between the accounting and human resource management (HRM) 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 HRM 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 heterogeneous 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.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Ejiogu, A.R. and Ejiogu, C. (2018) Translation in the “contact zone” between accounting and human resource management: The nebulous idea of humans as assets and resources. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31(7), pp.1932-1956.
ISSN : 0951-3574
Research Institute : People, Organisations and Work Institute (POWI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
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