Effects of Actor-Network Theory in Accounting Research

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Purpose – This paper aims to discuss how Bruno Latour's version of actor-network theory has influenced accounting research. It also seeks to show that Latour's writings contain unexplored potential that may inspire future accounting research.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a critical literature review and discussion.

Findings – Since the early 1990s, actor-network theory, particularly the work of Bruno Latour, has inspired accounting researchers and led to a number of innovative studies of accounting phenomena. In particular, Latour's book, Science in Action, has been the primary source of inspiration for accounting research. This means that there is unexplored potential in Latour's more recent writings which may lead to further inspiration and research in the field of accounting.

Research limitations/implications – The paper reviews only a few of the relatively large number of accounting papers that apply actor-network theory. A different sample might have given a somewhat different picture. Furthermore, it focuses on the influence of Latour's work and refrains from discussing how the writings of Michel Callon, John Law or other thinkers within the actor-network tradition are used in accounting research.

Originality/value – This is the first extensive review discussing the influence of Latour on accounting research that engages in a critical discussion of under-explored potential in Latour's recent work.
TidsskriftAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)161 - 193
StatusUdgivet - 2011


  • Accounting theory
  • Social factors
  • Strategic change
  • Networking