A rhetorical situation triggers accounting communication. The case of the conflict between the Bank of German States and the Government in 1955/56

Author/s Thomas Hermann
Publishing Year 2018 Issue 2018/1 Language English
Pages 46 P. 73-118 File size 251 KB
DOI 10.3280/CCA2018-001005
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

The two research questions of this paper are: How does the rhetorical situation trigger the accounting communication in a case of conflict? Which persuasive strategies are chosen to alter the situation? The paper accordingly combines Bitzer’s theory of the rhetorical situation with the Aristotelian framework of persuasive appeals and insights from argumentation theory. The paper empirically demonstrates the usefulness of this framework to deepen our understanding of accounting communication in a historical case study. The historical case is the change of monetary policy of a public financial institution, the Bank deutscher Länder BdL, and its conflict with the government in 1955/56. The analysis of the rhetorical discourse focuses on the narrative part of BdL’s Annual Report 1955, the Gürzenich hall speech of German Chancellor Adenauer on 23 May 1956, and the Monthly Report of May 1956. The paper demonstrates how the rhetorical situation triggers the accounting communication of the BdL. It also reveals changes in the argumentation strategy and the affective appeals as reactions to the new rhetorical situation created by the Chancellor’s speech.

Keywords: Accounting communication, new rhetoric, rhetorical situation, argumentation theory, public accountability, central bank.

  1. Adenauer K. (1956). Speech at the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie Meeting in Cologne („Gürzenich-Rede”). 23 May 1956 -- https://www.konrad-adenauer.de/dokumente/reden/1956-05-23-rede-bdi-guerzenich.
  2. BdL (1955). Report of the Bank deutscher Länder for the Year 1955 (English, official translation of “Geschäftsbericht der Bank deutscher Länder für das Jahr 1955), published on 28 April 1956.
  3. BdL (1956a). Monatsbericht Bank deutscher Länder May 1956, (German) published on 30 May 1956.
  4. BdL (1956b). Report of the Bank deutscher Länder for the Year 1956 (English, official translation of “Geschäftsbericht der Bank deutscher Länder für das Jahr 1956), published on 3 May 1957.
  5. Bdl Law (1951). Errichtung der Bank deutscher Länder. Gesetz Nr.60. (Militärregierung Amerikanisches Kontrollgebiet); Verordnung Nr. 129 (Militärregierung Britisches Kontrollgebiet); Verordnung Nr.203 (Militärregierung Französisches Kontrollgebiet), geändert durch Gesetze vom 10. August
  6. 1951 -- Text available at the website http://www.verfassungen.de/de/de45-49/bizone-gesetz48-1.htm (8 September 2016).
  7. Aerts W. and Yan B. (2017). Rhetorical impression management in the letter to shareholders and institutional setting: A metadiscourse perspective. Accounting. Auditing & Accountability Journal, 30(2): 404-432. DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-01-2015-1916
  8. Amtenbrink F. (1999). The Democratic Accountability of Central Banks. A Comparative Study of the European Central Bank. Oxford and Portland: Hart Publishing.
  9. Antonelli V. and D’Alessio R. (2011). Gli studi di storia della ragioneria dall’unità d’Italia ad oggi. Evidenze, interpretazioni e comparazioni in tema di autori, opera, oggetto e metodo. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  10. Aristotle (2006). The Art of Rhetoric. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. (translated by Freese J.H.).
  11. Beattie. V. (2014). Accounting narratives and the narrative turn in accounting research: Issues, theory, methodology, methods and a research framework. The British Acccounting Review, 46: 111-134.
  12. Berger H. (1997). Konjunkturpolitik im Wirtschaftswunder. Handlungsspielräume und Verhaltensmuster von Zentralbank und Regierung in den 1950er Jahren. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  13. Bibow J. (2003). Zur (Re-)Etablierung zentralbankpolitischer Institutionen und Traditionen in Westdeutschland. Theoretische Grundlagen und politisches Kalkül (1946-1967). In: Christian Scheer (ed.). Die deutschsprachige Wirtschaftswissenschaft in den ersten Jahrzehnten nach 1945. Studien zur Entwicklung der ökonomischen Theorie XXV. Berlin: Duncker&Humblot: 491-588.
  14. Bibow J. (2009). On the origin and rise of central bank independence in West Germany. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 16: 155-190. DOI: 10.1080/09672560802707498
  15. Bitzer L.F. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1: 1-14.
  16. Brennan N.M., Guillamon-Saorin E. and Pierce A. (2009). Methodological Insights: Impression management: Developing and illustrating a scheme of analysis for narrative disclosures – a methodological note. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 22: 789-832. DOI: 10.1108/09513570910966379
  17. Brennan N.M. and Merkl-Davies D.M. (2014). Rhetoric and argument in social and environmental reporting: the Dirty Laundry case. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 27: 602-633. DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1333
  18. Briault C. et al. (1996). Central bank independence and accountability: theory and evidence. Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin: February: 63-68.
  19. Brown A.D., Aisnworth S. and Grant D. (2012). The Rhetoric of Institutional Change. Organization Studies, 33(3): 297-321. DOI: 10.1177/0170840611435598
  20. Bryman A. (2012). Social Research Methods. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  21. Bujaki M. and McConomy B. (2012). Metaphor in Nortel’s letters to shareholders 1997-2006. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 25: 1113-1139.
  22. Carnegie G.D. and Napier C.J. (2012). Accounting's past, present and future: the unifying power of history. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 25: 328-369. DOI: 10.1108/095113571211198782
  23. Cockcroft R. and Cockcroft S. (2014). Persuading People. An Introduction to Rhetoric. 3rd Edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  24. Craig R. and Amernic J. (2004). The deployment of accounting-related rhetoric in the prelude to a privatization. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 17: 41-58. DOI: 10.1108/09513570410525201
  25. Davison J. (2002). Communication and antithesis in corporate annual reports: a research note. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 21: 594-608. DOI: 10.1108/09513570210441431
  26. De Haan J. and Eufinger S.C.W. (2000). The Democratic Accountability of the European Central Bank: A Comment on Two Fairy-tales. Journal of Common Market Studies, 38(3): 393-407.
  27. Deutsche Bundesbank (Ed.) (1998). Fünfzig Jahre Deutsche Mark. Notenbank und Währung in Deutschland seit 1948. München: C.H.Beck.
  28. Draghi M. (2015). Accounts and accountability. Speech at the Euro50 Group Roundtable on „Monetary Policy in Times of Turbulence” Frankfurt am Main. 31 March 2015.
  29. ECB European Central Bank (2002). Monthly Bulletin. November 2002.
  30. Eijfinger S.C.W. and Hoeberichts M. (2002). Central Bank Accountability and Transparency: Theory and Some Evidence. International Finance, 5(1): 73-96.
  31. Fleischman R.K. et al. (Eds.) (2013). Critical Histories of Accounting. Sinister Inscriptions in the Modern Era. New York: Routledge.
  32. Fleischman R.K. (2013). A Review of Critical Histories of Accounting. In. Richard K. Fleischman et al. Critical Histories of Accounting. Sinister Inscriptions in the Modern Era. New York: Routledge: 15-55.
  33. Foucault M. (2015). Überwachen und Strafen. Die Geburt des Gefängnisses. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp (German translation of Surveiller et punir. La naissance de la prison. Editions Gallimard, 1975).
  34. Fowler C.J. and Cordery C.J. (2015). From community to public ownership: a tale of changing accountabilities. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 28(1): 128-153.
  35. Garsten B. (2009). Saving Persuasion. A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  36. Gomes D., Carnegie G.D., Napier C.J., Parker L.D. and West B. (2011). Does accounting history matter? Accounting History, 16: 389-402. DOI: 10.1177/1032373211417993
  37. Green M. Vandekerckhove W. and Bessire D. (2008). Accountability discourses in advanced capitalism: who is now accountable to whom. Social Responsibility Journal, 4: 198-208. DOI: 10.1108/17471110810856956
  38. Gurd B. (2008). Remaining consistent with method? An analysis of grounded theory research in accounting. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 5(2): 122-138.
  39. Hahn J. de (2000). The History of the Bundesbank. Lessons for the European Central Bank. London and New York: Routledge.
  40. Harmon D., Green S. and Goodnight T. (2015). A model of rhetorical legitimation: The structure of communication and cognition underlying institutional maintenance and change. Academy of Management Review, 40(1): 76-95.
  41. Higgins C. and Walker R. (2012). Ethos, logos, pathos: Strategies of persuasion in social/environmental reports. Accounting Forum, 36: 194-208. DOI 10.1016/j.accfor.2012.02.003.
  42. Holtfrerich C.-L. (1988). Relations between Monetary Authorities and Governmental Institutions: The Case of Germany from the 19th Century to the Present. In: Toniolo. Gianni, op. cit., pp. 105-159.
  43. Holtfrerich C.-L. (1998). Geldpolitik bei festen Wechselkursen (1948-1970). In: Deutsche Bundesbank (ed.). Fünfzig Jahre Deutsche Mark. Notenbank und Währung in Deutschland seit 1948. München: C.H.Beck: 347-438.
  44. Hossfeld H. (2018). Legitimation and institutionalization of managerial practices. The role of organizational rhetoric. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 24: 9-21. DOI.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2017.11.001.
  45. Hyland K. (1998). Exploring Corporate Rhetoric: metadiscourse in the CEO’s Letter. The Journal of Business Communication, 35(2): 224-245.
  46. Issing O. (1982). Die Unabhängigkeit der Bundesbank. Theoretisch umstritten – praktisch bewährt. In: Ehrlicher W. and Simmert D. B.(eds.) (1982). Geldund Währungspolitik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Der Deutschen Bundesbank zum 25jährigen Bestehen. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot: 49-61.
  47. Issing O. (2000). The European Central Bank as a new institution and the problem of accountability. In: Hahn. 2000, op. cit., p. 143.
  48. Kennedy G.A. (1999). Classical Rhetoric and its Chistian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. 2nd ed. The University of North Carolina Press.
  49. Kienpointner M. (1992a). Alltagslogik. Struktur und Funktion von Argumentationsmustern. Stuttgart: fromman-holzboog.
  50. Kienpointner M. (1992b). How to classify Arguments. In: van Eemeren Frans H., Grootendorst Rob, Blair J. Anthony, Willard Charles (Eds.). Argumentation Illuminated. Amsterdam: 178-188.
  51. Leaman J. (2001). The Bundesbank Myth. Towards a Critique of Central Bank Independence. New York: Palgrave.
  52. Lindenlaub D. (2013). Die Errichtung der Bank deutscher Länder und die Währungsreform von 1948. Die Begründung einer stabilitätsorientierten Geldpolitik. In: Lindenlaub D., Burhop C. and Scholtyseck J. (eds.). Schlüsselereignisse der deutschen Bankengeschichte. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag: 297-319.
  53. Lohmann S. (1993). Designing a Central Bank in a Federal System: The Deutsche Bundesbank 1957-1992. Research Paper Stanford University.
  54. Lune H. and Berg B. (2017). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. 9th ed. London-New York: Pearson.
  55. Masocha W. and Weetman P. (2007). Rhetoric in standard setting: the case of the going-concern audit. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 20: 74-100. DOI: 10.1108/09513570710731218
  56. Merkl-Davies D.M. and Brennan N.M. (2011). A conceptual framework of impression management: new insights from psychology, sociology and critical perspectives. Accounting and Business Research, 41: 415-437. DOI: 10.1080/00014788.2011.574222
  57. Merkl-Davies D.M., Brennan N.M. and McLeay S. (2011). Impression management and retrospective sense-making in corporate narratives. A social psychology perspective. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 24(3): 315-344.
  58. Merkl-Davies D.M. and Koller V. (2012). “Metaphoring” people out of this world: A Critical Discourse Analysis of a chairman’s statement of a UK defence firm. Accounting Forum, 36: 178-193.
  59. Merkl-Davies D.M. and Brennan N.M. (2017). A theoretical framework of external accounting communication. Research Perspectives, traditions, and theories. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 30(2): 433-469.
  60. Neumann M.J.M. (1998). Geldwertstabilität. Bedrohung und Bewährung. In: Deutsche Bundesbank (ed.). Fünfzig Jahre, op. cit.: 309-346.
  61. Norreklit H. (2003). The Balanced Scorecard: what is the score? A rhetorical analysis of the Balanced Sccorecard. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 28: 591-619. DOI: 10.1016/S0361-3682(02)00097-1
  62. Nützenadel A. (2005). Stunde der Ökonomen. Wissenschaft, Politik und Expertenkultur in der Bundesrepublik 1949-1974. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  63. Ottmers C. (2007). Rhetorik. Stuttgart: J.B. Meltzer.
  64. Palmieri R. and Mazzali-Lurati S. (2016). Multiple Audiences as Text Stakeholders: A Conceptual Framework For Analyzing Complex Rhetorical Situations. Argumentation, 90: 467-499.
  65. Perelman C. and Olbrechts-Tyteca L. (1971). The New Rhetoric. A Treatise on Argumentation. Notredam, Indiana. University of Notredam Press (Reprint 2013).
  66. Sargiacomo M. and Gomes D. (2011). Accounting and accountability in local government: Contributions from accounting history research. Accountig History, 16(3): 253-290. DOI: 10.1177/1032373211407043
  67. Stacchezzini. R. (2012). Accounting e Potere. Il contributo interpretativo del governmentality framework. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  68. Toniolo G. (ed.) (1988). Central Banks’ Independence in Historical Perspective. Berlin New York: de Gruyter.
  69. Toulmin S., Rieke R. and Janik A. (1984). An introduction to reasoning. New York: Macmillan Publishing.
  70. Wolz C. (2009). Konflikte zwischen der Notenbank und der Regierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1956-1961. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Thomas Hermann, A rhetorical situation triggers accounting communication. The case of the conflict between the Bank of German States and the Government in 1955/56 in "CONTABILITÀ E CULTURA AZIENDALE" 1/2018, pp 73-118, DOI: 10.3280/CCA2018-001005