Relational Accounting: Extensions and Applications

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:56
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Frederick WHERRY, Yale University, USA
This article extends (but goes beyond) Zelier’s original concept of relational accounting. This development is necessary to arrest attempts to render these dynamics as a property of individuals unmoored from cultural structures. Relational accounting begins 1) upstream where identifiable codes and structured meaning systems shape the set of options, non-options, and their sense of being possible for the person engaged in action. Moral considerations embedded in these codes affect the geometric shape of the individual’s decision tree, nearly collapsing some decision branches. 2) In mid-stream there are meaningful, ritually prescribed occasions altering accounting priorities. And 3) downstream people are managing relationships in specific sites where deals make more or less sense by virtue of the site’s characteristics and the types of relationships being managed. Identifiable third parties sanction these understandings. The article concludes with concrete examples of relational accounting for luxury transactions and for high cost debt.