From Cadbury to Kay: discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance

Price, Michael, Harvey, Charles, Maclean, Mairi and Campbell, David (2018) From Cadbury to Kay: discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 31 (5). pp. 1542-1562. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to answer two main research questions. First, the authors ask the degree to which the UK corporate governance code has changed in response to both systemic perturbations and the subsequent enquiries established to recommend solutions to perceived shortcomings. Second, the authors ask how the solutions proposed in these landmark governance texts might be explained.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors take a critical discourse approach to develop and apply a discourse model of corporate governance reform. The authors draw together data on popular, corporate-political and technocratic discourses on corporate governance in the UK and analyse these data using content analysis and the historical discourse approach.

Findings – The UK corporate governance code has changed little despite periodic crises and the enquiries set up to investigate and make recommendation. Institutional stasis, the authors find, is the product of discourse capture and control by elite corporate actors aided by political allies who inhabit the same elite habitus. Review group members draw intertextually on prior technocratic discourse to create new canonical texts that bear the hallmarks of their predecessors. Light touch regulation by corporate insiders thus remains the UK approach.

Originality/value – This is one of the first applications of critical discourse analysis in the accounting literature and the first to have conducted a discursive analysis of corporate governance reports in the UK. The authors present an original model of discourse transitions to explain how systemic challenges are dissipated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trust, Governance, Disclosure, Intertextuality, Accountability, Critical discourse analysis, Elites, Combined code, Discourse-historical approach
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2020 11:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 20:07

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