The beancounter stereotype: towards a general model of stereotype generation

AL Friedman, SR Lyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


The image of the beancounter who is single-mindedly preoccupied with precision and form, methodical and conservative, and a boring joyless character has, until recently, been widely recognized as the clear stereotype of the accountant. Recently the stereotype has been confirmed as applicable in the past, but some have suggested that this long standing stereotype is disappearing. Evidence is provided from a literature search on "beancounter" that this traditional stereotype is not disappearing, but that it is multifaceted, incorporating several very different nuances. Stereotypes may be generated from different sources, transmitted through varied media and associated with a range of subtly different nuances. These nuances can be affected by the nature of the relationship different groups have with the stereotyped group. In order to explore further the different nuances of the beancounter stereotype, we develop a general model of stereotype generation. This accords with the range of ways the word beancounter has been used as a stereotype of accountants in a database of newspapers and magazines published between January 1970 and June 1995. We conclude by examining the implications of this research for analysing stereotyping and the way the stereotype of the accountant has been developing in recent years.
Translated title of the contributionThe beancounter stereotype: towards a general model of stereotype generation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423 - 451
Number of pages29
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Academic Press


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