Ideological hegemony and consent to IFRS: Insights from practitioners in Greece

Elisavet Mantzari, Omiros Georgiou

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This paper critically examines the rationale that drives the acceptance of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) at the level of professional practice in an unfavourable local context. Drawing on Gramsci’s work on hegemony and interviews with local practitioners in Greece, we explore the role of Gramscian “common sense” in bolstering consent about the superiority of IFRS over local standards. We find that local practitioner understandings of the operation of the standards are fragmented and contradictory; notions of the common sense behind the high quality of IFRS are in conflict with the reality of collective practical experience—or “good sense”, in Gramsci’s terms—where the standards fail at specific levels to provide conclusive benefits. However, local practitioners appear to organise their overall consensus on the appropriateness of IFRS, drawing on justifications closely linked to espoused and hegemonic aspects of the common sense of neoliberalism, including the tropes of Europeanisation and modernisation. Therefore, despite the contradictions identified in the operation of IFRS and the inability of the standards to fulfil their objectives, the conflict between common-sense and good-sense understandings has led—at least temporarily—to the wide endorsement of IFRS by practitioners. The evidence challenges economic justifications of the functional utility of IFRS at the level of reported practical experience. That viewpoints about IFRS are found to be so contradictory and fragmented also challenges conceptions in existing literature about the coherence of the IFRS project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-93
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date23 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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