Accounting and passionate interests: the case of a Swedish football club

Jane Baxter, Martin Carlsson-Wall, Wai Fong Chua, Kalle Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper seeks to (re)theorise the interpenetration of accounting and emotionality. Whilst researchers have devoted increasing attention to the effects of emotions, we argue that extant research is problematic in two ways. First, emotions have been treated as an intrapsychological phenomenon rather than an inter- or relational phenomenon. Second, current work focusses on how accounting produces emotions, failing to consider how emotions inform accounting. To address these two shortcomings, we mobilise the economic anthropology of Tarde (1902), and the subsequent work by Latour and Lépinay (2009) and Latour (2010; 2013), to argue that all interests are inherently 'passionate interests'; they are matters that 'hook' actors emotionally. This theoretical lens is used to narrate a field study considering the (changing) passionate interests and their connections to accounting in an elite Swedish football club. Specifically, we analyse a nexus of four passionate interests that 'hook' many (in different ways and with different degrees of intensity) – violent behaviour, winning the league, preserving the club family, and derbies. More generally, this paper argues that: first, organisations are a nexus of passionate interests; second, such interests recursively inform the doing of accounting; third, passionate interests are quantifiable via a range of financial and non-financial performance measures, enabling the construction and coordination of collectives; and, fourth, some performance measures matter more than others when (a) they are simple and unambiguous, (b) grounded in enduring passionate interests with deep historical roots that tie together members of proximate communities, and (c) travel beyond organisations and penetrate diverse arenas of everyday life, reproducing the emotive intensity of passionate interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Budgetary slack
  • Emotions
  • Passionate interests
  • Performance measurement
  • Rankings
  • Sport

Cite this