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(Counter) accounting for hybrid organising: A case of the Great Exhibition of the North

Ferry, L. and Slack, R (2022) '(Counter) accounting for hybrid organising: A case of the Great Exhibition of the North.', Accounting, auditing and accountability journal., 35 (3). pp. 681-705.


Purpose Hybrid organising faces a fundamental challenge in managing multiple and conflicting logics. Prior studies have evidenced the performative role of accounting within such a context largely in support of neoliberal hegemony and economic logic. Mindful of such conflict and the support toward economic logic, drawing on universal accountings this study provides insights from counter accounting and its’ potential to serve pluralism and the emancipation of marginalised constituencies. Design/methodology/approach The research examined The Great Exhibition of the North (GEOTN), England’s largest event in 2018, which utilised themes of art, design and innovation to support a regeneration and economic growth agenda. This was led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) a hybrid organisation combining logics for economic and social legacies, whose accounts are contrasted to counter accounts from a social movement; The Other Great Exhibition of the North, ‘OtherGEN’. The study involved 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews, detailed observation and documentation review providing account and counter account of the event. Findings The findings reveal that GEOTN promoted an agenda offering a duality of economic and social logics through the arts and culture delivering a lasting economic and social legacy. This employed traditional accountings and associated performance targets and measurement through a formal evaluation framework. Emergent tensions were apparent evidencing a more dominant economic logic. The purported use of culture was portrayed as artwashing by a counter account narrative enmeshed in a backdrop of austerity. This wider accounting highlights the need for reflection on logic plurality and enables challenge to the performative role of traditional accounting in hybrid organising. Originality/value Universal accountings, such as counter accounting, can be advanced to unpack ‘faked’ logics duality in hybrid organising. This reveals the emancipatory potential of accountings and the need for dialogic reflection. Hybrid organising requires careful consideration of accounting as a universal praxis to support social and economic pluralism and democratic ideals.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This article is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) and any reuse must be in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence.
Date accepted:04 January 2021
Date deposited:15 January 2021
Date of first online publication:19 January 2021
Date first made open access:17 May 2021

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