Professor Dean Neu is a faculty member in the Schulich School of Business at York University, Toronto, Canada. Prior to joining the faculty, he was the Director of the Centre for Public Interest Accounting and faculty member at the University of Calgary. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto and Universidad de Autonoma del Estado de Morelos in Mexico. He is currently the co-editor of Critical Perspectives on Accounting.
As an accounting scholar and activist Dean is committed to unveiling the presence of accounting where we might not otherwise expect to find it, he has in numerous articles and public appearances revealed how accounting plays a mediative role between governments and population segments. Dean?s research and writing demonstrate how accounting, working hand in hand with bureaucracies, shapes and constructs societal governance. In this work, the disguise of accounting as a boring benign appendage to business and government is stripped away to reveal how accounting number play a crucial role in shaping public policy and the perceptions the public has of those policies.
2016 Winner of the Canadian Academic Accounting Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to Accounting Thought
2006, 2001 Co-winner of Dean's Award for Research Leadership (2006) and winner (2001) for outstanding research leadership over the preceding five year period in the Faculty of Management, Haskayne School of Business
1997 Winner of the Dean's Award for Research Excellence for outstanding research achievements- Haskayne School of Business
1997 Recipient of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta Distinguished Service Award for recognition of outstanding service to the profession over the preceding three year period.
Everett, J., Neu, D., Rahaman, A.A. and Saxton, G. (2020), "Speaking Truth to Power: Twitter Reactions to the Panama Papers", Journal of Business Ethics, 162(2), 473-485.
The current study examines the micro-linguistic details of Twitter responses to the whistleblower-initiated publication of the Panama Papers. The leaked documents contained the micro-details of tax avoidance, tax evasion, and wealth accumulation schemes used by business elites, politicians, and government bureaucrats. The public release of the documents on April 4, 2016 resulted in a groundswell of Twitter and other social media activity throughout the world, including 161,036 Spanish- language tweets in the subsequent 5-month period. The findings illustrate that the responses were polyvocal, consisting a collection of overlapping speech genres with varied thematic topics and linguistic styles, as well as differing degrees of calls for action and varying amounts of illocutionary force. The analysis also illustrates that, while the illocutionary force of tweets is somewhat associated with the adoption of a prosaic and vernacular ethical stance as well as with demands for action, these types of voicing behaviors were not present in the majority of the tweets. These results suggest that, while social media platforms are a popular site for collective forms of voicing activities, it is less certain that these collective stakeholder voices necessarily result in forceful accountability demands that spill out of the communication medium and thus serve as an impulse for positive social change.
Neu, D. (2020), "Accounting for Extortion", Accounting, Organizations and Society, 76, 50-63.
This study analyzes how accounting participates in the business of extortion. Using a combination of archival, interview and participant observation data, we consider the extortion activities of two criminal organizationsdthe Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18dthat operate in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Starting from the assumption that the repetitive extortion activities of street gangs require organizational devices that coordinate activities and facilitate decisionmaking, we examine how street gangs use accounting. We also analyze how business targets react to receiving extortion demands. The analysis illustrates that both street gangsters and their extortion targets have a pre-existing existential relationship to accounting that influences how street gangsters use accounting as well as how business targets respond.
Everett, J., Neu, D., Rahaman, A.A. and Saxton, G. (2019), "Twitter and Social Accountability: Reactions to the Panama Papers", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 61, 38-53.Keywords
The potential of social media to disseminate, aggregate, channel and democratize social accountability processes has encouraged a variety of organizations to actively promote and champion such initiatives. These initiatives typically envision a three step social accountability process where, for example, the publication of previously-private financial information about the inappropriate wealth accumulation activities of politicians and their business allies (step #1), combined with social media dissemination and discussion of these activities (step #2), can result in an accountability conversation that spills out of the medium and that sometimes results in positive social change (step #3). The current study examines Twitter reactions to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist’s (ICIJ) publication of the Panama Papers. The analysis illustrates that there was a Twitter reaction: furthermore, that there were different styles of response and that certain styles were more likely to elicit an audience reaction, especially if the tweeter was a journalist or organization. While the provided analysis focuses on step #2 within the social accountability process, the results imply that publicly-interested accounting academics qua activists can facilitate social accountability by helping to make previously-private financial information public and by cultivating sympathetic individuals within the traditional media as well as within organizations that are active on social media.
Everett, J., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A.A. (2018), "Ethics in the Eye of the Beholder: A Pluralist View of Fair-Trade", Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 36(1), 1-40.
This paper examines fair trade through a variety of ethical lenses as a means of determining whether or not it is, indeed, fair. The specific lenses employed are utilitarianism, justice, rights, virtue, and care. The context examined is coffee production and the analysis is based on twenty-three interviews conducted with fair trade coffee producers and other associated actors in the country of Guatemala. The paper highlights how each of these lenses draws attention to the unique moral dimensions of fair trade, and demonstrates how a pluralist view enables a better grasp of the complexity of the ethics surrounding fair trade than is provided by any one, singular framing. Implications of the analysis are provided for business educators, practitioners, and students of fair trade.
Everett, J., Friesen, C., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A.A. (2018), "We Have Never Been Secular: Religious Identities, Duties, and Ethics in Audit Practice", Journal of Business Ethics, 153(4), 1121-1142.
Everett, J, Neu, D. and Rahaman, A.A. (2015), "Preventing Corruption within Government Procurement: Constructing the Disciplined and Ethical Subject", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 28(1),49-61.
This paper examines the role of internal controls and monitoring practices in corrupt contexts and how these controls and practices shape the ethics and moral behaviors of organizational actors. Specifically focusing on corruption in government procurement and drawing on the insights of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, the paper proposes that effective anti-corruption practices depend upon an understanding and analysis of the practices and politics of visibility, and that effective ‘luminous arrangements’ have the potential to discourage corrupt practices and influence ethics within organizations. While such arrangements do not necessarily prevent corrupt practices, they do encourage certain actions and reactions among organizational actors, suggesting that organizational actors are at one and the same time free and autonomous, yet subject to and constructed by anti-corruption practices. These practices are thus both disciplinary and productive, affecting individuals in specific ways, while also benefitting the organizations for whom they work.
Everett, J., Neu, D., and Rahaman, A.A. (2015), "Praxis, Doxa and Research Methods: Reconsidering Critical Accounting", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 32(1), 37-44.
This essay examines the critical accounting field’s current reliance on qualitative methods, asking whether these methods are necessarily better than quantitative methods. The notion of praxis and the purpose of critical research are discussed and the pros and cons of quantitative methods in relation to this notion and purpose are considered. The taxonomy of critical accounting and its ontological and epistemological assumptions are reviewed in order to problematize the field’s doxa, or taken-for-granted understanding of how critical research ought to be conducted. Examples are provided of two theoretical perspectives that rely on quantitative and mixed methods (critical realism and Bourdieu’s praxeology), and a number of research questions that are conducive to the use of quantitative and mixed methods are identified.
Everett, J., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A. (2013), "Trust, Morality, and the Privatization of Water Services in Developing Countries", Business and Society Review, 118(4), 539-575.
This article examines the business of water privatization and the ethics implied in the transformation of the water services sector in developing countries. Drawing on data derived from field visits and semi‐structured interviews held with members of government, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders in one country undergoing transformation in this sector, Ghana, the article considers the ethical perspectives of the various involved stakeholders. The analysis draws on three perspectives—Gilligan’s ethic of care, Rawls’ principles of justice, and virtue ethics—which together highlight the economic, class, and gender‐based dimensions of the privatization debate. Finding that endemic mistrust characterizes this debate, the article considers what is needed to re‐instill trust among stakeholders. Specific implications are provided for business leaders and government policymakers.
Everett, J., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A. (2013), "Internal Auditing and Corruption within Government: The Case of the Canadian Sponsorship Program", Contemporary Accounting Research, 30(3), 1223-1250.
Everett, J., Martinez, D., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A. (2013), "Accounting and Networks of Corruption", Accounting, Organizations and Society, 38(6-7), 505-524.
This study examines the nature and role of accounting practices in a network of corruption in an influence-market setting. The study focuses on the Canadian government’s Sponsorship Program (1994–2003), a national unification scheme that saw approximately $50 million diverted into the bank accounts of political parties, program administrators, and their families, friends and business colleagues. Relying on the institutional sociology of Bourdieu, the study demonstrates the precise role of accounting practices in the organization of a corrupt network imbued with a specific telos and certain accounting tasks. The study illustrates how accounting is accomplished and by whom, and it shows how the ‘skillful use’ of accounting practices and social interactions around these practices together enable corruption. In so doing, the study builds on a growing body of work examining criminogenic networks and the contextual, collaborative and systemic uses of accounting in such networks.
Everett, J., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A. (2013), "Accounting and Sweatshops: Enabling Coordination and Control in Low-Price Apparel Production Chains", Contemporary Accounting Research, 31(2), 322-346.
Neu, D. (2012), "Accounting and Undocumented Work", Contemporary Accounting Research, 29(1), 13-37.
Everett, J., Neu, D. and Rahaman, A. (2012), "Les Vérificateurs Internes ‘Sur la Crête’: Idéologie, Politique, Éthique et Lutte Contre la Fraude et la Corruption", Télescope, 18(3), 131-156.
This paper examines some of the ideological, political and moral challenges that face internal auditors in their fight against fraud and corruption. Specifically, the paper considers how these three factors influence the definitions of fraud and corruption and the perceived purpose of internal auditing. The paper also examines two high-profile cases of fraud and corruption – the Canadian sponsorship scandal and the WorldCom collapse – as a means of showing how these factors can undermine the auditor’s independence, integrity and professional judgment. These two cases further highlight the phenomenon of “whistleblowing,” and how a whistleblower’s “faith in the system” can lead that person to become a victim of injustice and alienation, or “tragic hero.” Finally, the paper considers how to best deal with this situation, and briefly looks at the educational resources that the profession has made available to deal with these various challenges.
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleAccounting and Healthcare in Four Settings RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$90,000.00 Year Awarded2007-2010 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant Project TitleGoverning Maquila Work: The Role of Monitoring Assemblages RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$91,000.00 Year Awarded2007-2010 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant