Accounting as a legitimising device in voluntary price agreements: the Dundee jute industry, 1945–1960

S. Masrani, Peter Mckiernan

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Using archival and interview data, this paper uses institutional theory (INT) to analyze the role that accounting played in the operation of voluntary price agreements in the Dundee jute industry (DJI) during the sector's decline from 1945 to 1960. At its peak in the late 19th century, the industry employed almost 50% of the Dundee labour force and its output was critical to the UK's war effort. Hence, once decline set in, serious efforts were made to protect it from foreign competition. The DJI was highly fragmented, with some firms happy to comply and others in a state of defiance. The role of accounting helped to provide legitimacy and attract compliance, while the isomorphic forces (normative, coercive and mimicry) played key roles individually and together in binding together a set of voluntary price agreements. Key influencers in the DJI exerted agency to reinforce these efforts. These agreements proved more successful than other ‘shelter’ strategy schemes in other UK sectors in decline, e.g., cotton, in buying time for firms to diversify.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415–433
    Number of pages19
    JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
    Issue number4
    Early online date9 Feb 2011
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


    • Dundee jute industry
    • board of trade
    • jute control
    • collective strategy
    • industrial decline


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