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Auditing and crisis management: The 2010 Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal

Paul Andon and Clinton Free

Accounting, Organizations and Society, 2012, vol. 37, issue 3, 131-154

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the way in which auditing was mobilised during the 2010 Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, through a textual analysis of media coverage associated with the crisis. Using ‘t Hart’s power-symbolic analytical framework, we document the initial public framing of the auditing-based response as well as rhetorical strategies to mask, and counter, public criticisms of audits commissioned by the National Rugby League (NRL) and News Limited in the immediate aftermath of the salary cap breach announcement. We illustrate that these audits formed a key element of the crisis management response of both organisations. We also provide evidence of the way that the NRL sought to use the audit exercise to re-legitimate its ongoing monitoring and enforcement of the salary cap. In spite of various challenges to the scope, due process, timeliness, transparency, independence and resourcing of the audits, the audit programs and their associated narratives endured. The paper contributes to understanding the role of auditing in crisis management and how this role can be implicated in shaping the social construction and contestation of organisational crises.

Date: 2012
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