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Through a Glass clearly: Management Practice on the Bowes Family Estates c.1700-1770 as Revealed by the Accounts

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David McCollum-Oldroyd


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Through the accounts, the article examines the management practices employed on the Bowes estates in order to ascertain whether they were managed as profit centres to be exploited, and whether accounting aided managerial activity at this early stage of industrial development. The majority of the estate accounts were designed to keep track of rights and obligations. The survival of cost analysis, profit statements and planning data indicates that the estates were not treated simply as units of consumption and that the accounts played an important facilitating role. There are indications that a knowledge-power mechanism also existed within the estates, casting doubt on both the mutual-exclusivity of Economic-rationalist and Foucauldian explanations of accounting activities, and on the notion that a relevant distinction exists between modern and pre-modern business organisation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oldroyd D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Accounting, Business and Financial History

Year: 1999

Volume: 9

Issue: 2

Pages: 175-201

ISSN (print): 0958-5206

ISSN (electronic): 1466-4275

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/095852099330296


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