From Cadbury to Kay: Discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance

Michael Price, Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean, David Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose – We aim to answer two main research question. First, we ask to what degree the UK corporate governance code has changed in response to systemic perturbations and subsequent enquiries established to recommend solutions to perceived shortcomings. Second, we ask how the solutions proposed in these landmark governance texts might be explained.
Methodology – We take a critical discourse approach to develop and apply a discourse model of corporate governance reform. We draw together data on popular, corporate-political and technocratic discourses on corporate governance in the UK and analyze these data using content analysis and the discourse-historical approach.
Findings – The UK corporate governance code has changed little despite periodic crises and the enquiries set up to investigate and recommend improvements. Institutional stasis, we find, is the product of discourse capture and control by elite corporate actors aided by political allies who inhabit the same elite habitus. Review group members draw intertextually on prior technocratic discourse to create new canonical texts that bear the hallmarks of their predecessors. Light touch regulation by corporate insiders thus remains the UK approach.
Originality/value – This is one of the first applications of critical discourse analysis in the accounting literature and the first to have conducted a discursive analysis of corporate governance reports in the UK. We present an original model of discourse transitions to explain how systemic challenges are dissipated.
Keywords Governance, Combined code, Accountability, Disclosure, Trust, Elites, Critical discourse analysis, Discourse-historical approach, Intertextuality

Paper type Research paper
LanguageEnglish
Article number10
Pages1542-1562
Number of pages21
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Volume31
Issue number5
Early online date12 Jun 2018
DOIs
StatusPublished - 19 Jun 2018

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Intertextuality
Discourse
Corporate governance
Elites
Corporate governance codes
Governance
Critical discourse analysis
Perturbation
Habitus
Key words
Content analysis
Disclosure
Accountability
Insider
Methodology
Corporate governance reform

Cite this

From Cadbury to Kay : Discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance. / Price, Michael; Harvey, Charles; Maclean, Mairi; Campbell, David.

In: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 31, No. 5, 10, 19.06.2018, p. 1542-1562.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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