Exploring accountability in an entrepreneurial firm

Jiafan Li, Julia A. Smith, Gavin C. Reid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We present qualitative empirical evidence on the use of accountability within a small entrepreneurial firm. Using the ethnographic approach of participant observation to fully immerse ourselves in the business, we explore how accountability issues that have been commonly acknowledged in Western literature can be addressed and overcome in a developing economy. In doing so, we highlight the tensions and issues that are confronted by a strong owner-manager, with a global perspective and international education. Our analysis considers issues of control, risk, information, communication and monitoring. Overall we present, for the first time, evidence that accountability, as conceived by Western academics, exists in China, but that cultural tensions can lead to difficulties in its implementation. Educating SMEs in developing economies about the advantages of transparent communication is a lesson to be learned from our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Accounting and Information Systems
EditorsJulia A. Smith
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781802200621
ISBN (Print)9781802200614
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks on Accounting
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd

Cite this