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It might never happen, or will it? The process of rendering (un)accountability in the deep-sea oil exploration arena

Scobie, M., Milne, M. and Love, T. (2016) It might never happen, or will it? The process of rendering (un)accountability in the deep-sea oil exploration arena. In: 8th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference, 13 - 15 July 2016, Swanston Academic Building, Melbourne, VIC



Purpose – This paper seeks to explore the diverse expectations and manifestations of accountability
for risk in the deep sea petroleum exploration arena of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Methodology – The arena framework developed by Renn (1992) and applied to accountability
research by Georgakopoulos and Thomson (2008) is implemented and developed, and informed by
interviews with key actors in the arena.

Findings –Actors perceive accountability for risk to come down to process. Accountability for risk
is about providing an account for actions, past, present and future; a forum to debate this account;
and a consideration of the Other in decision making. It was also found that diverse understandings
of responsibility, including the Māori guardianship value of kaitiakitanga, can inform decisionmaking
and challenge existing interpretations of corporate and public responsibility.

Originality/value – Aotearoa New Zealand is a country built around an official ‘partnership’
arrangement between the Government of New Zealand and Māori, and exploring this provides
unique insights for accountability relationships. This is enhanced by examining a novel and
controversial activity, deep sea petroleum exploration. The ability to participate in decision-making,
the forum for the account, was more important for actors than the account itself. This research has
also given ‘voice’ to actors not often considered in accounting research and policy-making and has
thus uncovered a novel understanding of ‘accountability for risk’ in a conflict arena.

Item Type: Conference Paper
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