This research explores the role of accounting as a social practice contributing to managers’ ongoing efforts to understand and influence organizational change in the course of review meetings. It develops a processual and semiotic view of Goffman’s theory of frames, based on the concept of framing, defined as an ongoing social process of context production in an unfolding situation. This framework is applied to situations of negotiation between a retailer and sixteen suppliers, under a category management approach. The crucial finding is the plurality of competing frames and the occurrence of frame-shifting episodes, by which, in response to a specific event, one frame is suddenly replaced with another frame that narrates the situation in a different way, with significant effects on practices. The study highlights the dual nature of accounting numbers, simultaneously parts of generic social frames and singular events in the situation, and their resulting action as mediators between a singular situation and socially-constructed classes of meaning.
LORINO, P., MOUREY, D. et SCHMIDT, G. (2017). Goffman’s Theory of Frames and Situated Meaning-Making in Performance Reviews. The Case of a Category Management Approach in the French Retail Sector. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 58, pp. 32-49.