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(Counter) accounting for hybrid organising: A case of the Great Exhibition of the North

Ferry, L.; Slack, R

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Purpose Hybrid organising faces a fundamental challenge in managing multiple and conflicting logics. Prior studies have evidenced the performative role of accounting within such a context largely in support of neoliberal hegemony and economic logic. Mindful of such conflict and the support toward economic logic, drawing on universal accountings this study provides insights from counter accounting and its’ potential to serve pluralism and the emancipation of marginalised constituencies. Design/methodology/approach The research examined The Great Exhibition of the North (GEOTN), England’s largest event in 2018, which utilised themes of art, design and innovation to support a regeneration and economic growth agenda. This was led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) a hybrid organisation combining logics for economic and social legacies, whose accounts are contrasted to counter accounts from a social movement; The Other Great Exhibition of the North, ‘OtherGEN’. The study involved 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews, detailed observation and documentation review providing account and counter account of the event. Findings The findings reveal that GEOTN promoted an agenda offering a duality of economic and social logics through the arts and culture delivering a lasting economic and social legacy. This employed traditional accountings and associated performance targets and measurement through a formal evaluation framework. Emergent tensions were apparent evidencing a more dominant economic logic. The purported use of culture was portrayed as artwashing by a counter account narrative enmeshed in a backdrop of austerity. This wider accounting highlights the need for reflection on logic plurality and enables challenge to the performative role of traditional accounting in hybrid organising. Originality/value Universal accountings, such as counter accounting, can be advanced to unpack ‘faked’ logics duality in hybrid organising. This reveals the emancipatory potential of accountings and the need for dialogic reflection. Hybrid organising requires careful consideration of accounting as a universal praxis to support social and economic pluralism and democratic ideals.


Ferry, L., & Slack, R. (2022). (Counter) accounting for hybrid organising: A case of the Great Exhibition of the North. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 35(3), 681-705.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 19, 2021
Publication Date Mar 9, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 12, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 15, 2021
Journal Accounting Auditing and Accountability
Print ISSN 0951-3574
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Pages 681-705
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
This article is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) and any reuse must be in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence.

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