Category Archives: Commedia dell’arte

Advertising the accountant: A stereotype in crisis.

scoverijcaMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2014). Advertising the accountant: A stereotype in crisis. International Journal of Critical Accounting, 6(5/6), 423-440. doi: 10.1504/IJCA.2014.068373

Abstract

Although we now recognise celebrity in such diverse areas as the celebrity trainer, celebrity chef and celebrity gardener, we are yet to see the rise of the celebrity accountant. Previous research has described the accounting image as dull and boring yet recruitment advertising by the accounting profession presents a very different image. This research tries to understand that apparent inconsistency by examining the role of stereotypes in commedia dell’arte, a form of improvisational theatre that developed in 15th century Italy and which used stock characters based on the common stereotypes of the day. In this research il dottore, one of the stock characters of commedia dell’arte, is considered to show how stereotypes provide encoded information that can serve an important purpose. In addition, we contend that if the recruitment advertising by the accounting profession is successful in changing the stereotype of the accountant that has long been entrenched in popular culture, instead of being beneficial to the accounting profession, it would be deleterious. Hence, there is benefit in the accounting profession trying to maintain the stereotype.

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YouTube video on jokes in popular culture

YouTube_logo_standard_whiteLast year we posted details of our article:  Jokes in popular culture: The characterisation of the accountant. We have recently created a YouTube video which highlights some of the issues included in our research.  The URL of the video is: http://youtu.be/oxxC9gMDJew

We hope you enjoy the video and appreciate an alternative conduit to our research.

Jokes in popular culture: The characterisation of the accountant

aaajcoverMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2012). Jokes in popular culture: The characterisation of the accountant. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 25(4), 703-718. doi: 10.1108/09513571211225105

Abstract

Purpose – The accountant has been characterised in popular culture as dull and boring. Accounting scholarship consistently describes this stereotype as negative. The purpose of this research is to enhance our understanding of this stereotype by comparing the characterisation of the accountant found in contemporary jokes with a similar characterisation found in commedia dell’arte, which is a form of improvisational theatre.

Design/methodology/approach – This research employs netnography to identify the stereotype of the accountant portrayed in jokes on social networking sites. To enrich our understanding of the stereotype of the characterisation of the accountant in contemporary jokes, it is compared with the characterisation of il dottore, the stock character of the professional man in commedia dell’arte.

Findings – The characterisation of the accountant in contemporary jokes is consistent with characterisations of the accountant in other areas of popular culture, confirming that the stereotype is widely entrenched in popular culture. Contemporary jokes provide a more detailed characterisation than previously identified in accounting scholarship. Since the stereotype of il dottore in commedia dell’arte resembles the stereotype of the accountant as portrayed in contemporary jokes, studying commedia dell’arte provides an approach that enhances our understanding of the characterisation of the accountant in popular culture.

Originality/value – The contribution of this research to accounting scholarship is the deployment of commedia dell’arte to capture the essence of the stereotype of the accountant as portrayed in popular culture. Extending the definition of popular culture to include contemporary jokes brings a unique use of netnography to accounting scholarship.

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