Doing critical dialogic accounting and accountability research: an analytical framework and case illustration

Publication Name

Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal


Purpose: To present an analytical framework for conducting critical dialogic accounting and accountability-based participatory action research to further democratisation, social change and empowering marginalised groups, and to reflect on its application in a Bangladeshi nongovernmental organisation's microfinance program. Design/methodology/approach: The framework, synthesising prior CDAA theorising and agonistic-inspired action research, is described, followed by a discussion of the methodological challenges when applying this during a ten-year, ongoing intervention seeking greater voice for poor, female borrowers. Findings: Six methodological issues emerged: investigating contested issues rather than organisation-centric research; identifying and engaging divergent discourses; engaging marginalised groups, activists and/or dominant powerholders; addressing power and power relations; building alliances for change; and evaluating and disseminating results. The authors discuss these issues and how the participatory action research methods and analytical tools used evolved in response to emergent challenges, and key lessons learned in a study of microfinance and women's empowerment. Originality/value: The paper addresses calls within and beyond accounting to develop critical, engaged and change-oriented scholarship adopting an agonistic research methodology. It uses a novel critical dialogic accounting and accountability-based participatory action research approach. The reflexive examination of its application engaging NGOs, social activists, and poor women to challenge dominant discourses and practices, and build alliances for change, explores issues encountered. The paper concludes with reflective questions to aid researchers interested in undertaking similar studies in other contentious, power-laden areas concerning marginalised groups.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



Link to publisher version (DOI)