Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (76.8 MB)

Corporate Social Responsibility for Employees: Insights Concerning the Underpayment of Wages in Australia

Download (76.8 MB)
posted on 2022-08-10, 04:04 authored by Da Yang


This thesis by publication is an investigation into corporate social responsibility (CSR) towards employees. The first paper is a structured literature review of accounting inquiries into CSR that reveals a significant gap in the research - being wage underpayments in Australia. As a result, this thesis is an in-depth investigation of this important contemporary issue. Using a case study methodology, I investigate two cases of wage underpayment in Australia. The first case covers a conspiracy of wage theft by dozens of small business owners in a university town. Documents and interviews tell of how a group of student workers resisted the wage theft and of accounting's role in the students' movement. I examine the case through the lens of labour process theory that offers a dynamic view of accounting's role at work. The second case focusses on a challenge by two Australian supermarket workers to their employer Coles concerning wage inequality in union-negotiated enterprise bargaining agreements. I use Rancière's concepts of politics and the police to analyse how accounting was used to reveal and rectify underpayments to thousands of workers. By analysing the struggle of these workers to resist problematic business practices and their experiences with accounting, this thesis complements our current understanding of accounting's role in pursuing accountability, especially in the workplace. The overall thesis contributes to understanding how accounting can be both a tool to benefit capitalism and, at the same time, an emancipatory tool to help workers who have been disadvantaged by more powerful economic forces.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction: critical accounting, CSR, and employees -- 2. Research paradigm and methods -- 3. Progress or inertia? A critical review of CSR research in accounting (Paper 1) -- 4. Review of accounting's role at work -- 5. Research context: Wage underpayments in Australia -- 6. Accounting's role in wage theft: a labour process analysis (Paper 2) -- 7. Accounting for the "uncounted" workers: a dialectic view of accounting (Paper 3) -- 8. Concluding remarks of the thesis -- Appendices of the thesis


A thesis submitted to Macquarie University in fulfilment of the requirement of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Thesis by publication

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School, Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, 2019

Department, Centre or School

Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Johannes Dumay

Additional Supervisor 1

Dale Tweedie


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




182 pages

Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses


    Ref. manager