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No 778:
The role of Social Reformers in the Adoption of new Management Practices: The case of Budgetary Control in France, 1930-1959

CHIAPELLO Eve () and BERLAND Nicolas ()

Abstract: Historically, the development of budgetary control in French businesses took place within the ideological context of the debate on organisation of the economy following the economic and political crises of the 1930s and 1940s. Budgetary control, a management practice theorised as early as the 1920s in America, was seen by many actors as one of the practices that could provide a solution to the economic and social problems facing them. In other words, its increasingly widespread adoption was not only due to the search for ever-greater efficiency, but also to a clear ideological attraction. Better business management was not the only goal: more broadly, there was a desire to change society as a whole.

This article is part of the research tradition of studying accounting in its social context. The history of accounting is examined in the light of the general political and economic history of the 20th century, associating accounting practices and the capitalists institutions of a given period and country. We stress an as yet largely unexplored aspect: the role played by the critique of capitalism and the social reformers’ proposals in changing business management methods.

Keywords: Budgetary control; capitalism; history; adoption of management innovations; social reformers; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: B20; M40; (follow links to similar papers)

42 pages, February 1, 2003

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