The impact of a humanitarian disaster on the working approach of accountants: a study of contingent effects

Carungu, Jonida, Di Pietra, Roberto and Molinari, Matteo (2021) The impact of a humanitarian disaster on the working approach of accountants: a study of contingent effects. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. ISSN 0951-3574 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2020-4789

Abstract / Description

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a humanitarian disaster as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shapes the working approach of accountants. This research is motivated by the call for more in-depth analyses of how COVID-19 affects the work, role and human condition of accountants. The study aims to discover the contingent effects, based on the contingency theory, on accountants' work due to a disaster like COVID-19.

Design/methodology/approach
This is a qualitative study with an action research approach. The research relies on semi-structured interviews and the active participation of a co-author in a professional organisation under investigation. Data collected are analysed using thematic analysis through an inductive interpretative approach.

Findings
The contingent shock embodies both a reactive and adaptive approach in the accountants' professional work. From a theoretical perspective, this study identifies nine contingent phases related to shock. The accountants' experience helps to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic contingently shapes the working approach of accountants with both short- and long-term organisational implications.

Originality/value
Based on the literature survey, this is the first study to adopt an action research approach to engage with the complex dynamics involved in the social context of COVID-19 by discovering the effective actions, reactions, changes and solutions to problems experienced by professional accountants. This approach helps to build knowledge that enhances professional, and community practises by answering the call for multidisciplinary contributions in accounting to address the global COVID-19 crisis, its impacts and opportunities for future research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: humanitarian disasters; accountants; shock; contingency theory; Italy; action research
Subjects: 600 Technology > 650 Management & auxiliary services
Department: Guildhall School of Business and Law
Depositing User: Jonida Carungu
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2021 09:46
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 09:46
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/6487

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