Approximate reading time: 3-4 min. How to avoid control does not hinder creativity in businesses? What is the role of accounting for control and creativity?
Two researchers have investigated accounting’s role as a mediating instrument between the tensions of creativity and control within the price competitive world of the fashion chain store. Based on a case study approach, the researchers interviewed key members within a UK fashion chain.
The design of a fashion garment is generally regarded as an expression of creativity and artistic endeavour. However, the design of the high street, mass produced fashion garment, like all consumer products in a competitive marketplace, is subject to the constraints of cost control and manufacturing simplicity. The role of accounting in the control of creativity is still a relatively emerging concept within accounting scholarship, however, this study concurs with the findings of the extant literature that accounting plays an important and positive role in creative contexts.
The result of the study
The case analysis suggests that accounting can be regarded as a prop, which when introduced into the dramaturgical interactions between the designer, buyer and merchandiser, helps to rein in the individual performances to which each member of the trinity is inclined. It encourages the deployment of the defensive strategies (dramaturgical loyalty, discipline, circumspection) which stabilize and strengthen the team such that they can successfully sustain their team impression. In this manner, accounting acts as a mediating instrument between the tensions surrounding creativity and control in high street fashion.
Practical implications for control and creativity
Accounting, as a form of structural support, helps to maintain team spirit. This by mediating between creativity and the control problems found in fashion design. The study therefore points to the importance of using accounting of actors beyond the organization’s financial function.
Jeacle, I., Carter, C., 2012. Fashioning the popular masses: accounting as mediator between creativity and control. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability, 25 (4), 719-751.
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