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Associate Professor Kala Saravanamuthu

Associate Professor

Newcastle Business School (Accounting and Finance)

Socio-environmental Impacts Considered in Risk Management

Dr Saravanamuthu's primary area of research is in developing holistic and emancipatory accountability and decision-making tools that create change from the conventional pursuit of economic returns to more sustainable interaction with nature.

 

Dr Saravanamuthu has recently developed software that constructs Integrated Risk Assessments which assimilate socio-environmental attributes of how economic developments impact on a local catchment. The software relies on competing stakeholders and experts identifying socio-environmental attributes relevant to a particular catchment, and then suggesting a risk profile for each attribute. The software uses semi-qualitative risk language to combine these indicators into integrated, visual accounts. These two steps are repeated iteratively until all stakeholders agree to the risk profile generated.

The semi-qualitative risk language Dr Saravanamuthu's assessment employs accounts for the complexities and uncertainties not reflected in conventional assessments such as Cost-Benefit Analysis.

This software benefits all participating stakeholders involved in the construction of integrated risk assessments including investors, growers, industrialists and developers. Opinions of the local community can easily be acknowledged in an open process. As the process is transparent, regulators can use the assessment for their evaluation and technical experts can communicate the real-world relevance of their work to non-experts.

Socio-environmental Impacts Considered in Risk Management

Dr Saravanamuthu's primary area of research is in developing holistic and emancipatory accountability and decision-making tools that create change from the conventional pursuit of economic returns to more sustainable interaction with nature. Dr Saravanamuthu has recently developed software that constructs…

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Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise

Primary area of research - Developing holistic and emancipatory accountability and decision-making tools that create spaces for changing perceptions, from the conventional pursuit of economic returns to more sustainable interaction with nature.

For a summary of my sustainability research, please see p.3 of the Tom Farrell newsletter for December 2011. URL provided below:

http://www.newcastle.edu.au/Resources/Research Centres/TFI/Publications/Newsletters/2011/December.pdf

Secondary areas of research - Accounting education, Workplace relations, and Participatory information systems.


Qualifications

  • PhD, University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Accountancy, University of Malaya
  • Master of Science (Management), University of Durham

Keywords

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Decision-making

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
140399 Econometrics not elsewhere classified 10
150102 Auditing and Accountability 90

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Associate Professor University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (3 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2006 Saravanamuthu K, 'Ghandian-Vedic paradigm: theorising sustainable development', Methodological Issues in Accounting Research: Theories and Methods, Spiramus Press, London, United Kingdom 291-333 (2006) [B1]
2006 Saravanamuthu K, 'Foundation principles governing accounting: revisiting the representation of business activities', Sustainable Development: Policy and Administration, Taylor & Francis, London, United Kingdom 611-633 (2006) [B1]
2005 Saravanamuthu K, 'Benchmarking: Fragmenting public policy', International Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility, Ansted University Press, Penang, Malaysia 67-96 (2005) [B1]

Journal article (21 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Saravanamuthu K, Yap C, 'Pedagogy to empower Chinese Learners to adapt to western learning circumstances: a longitudinal case-study', Cambridge Journal of Education, 44 361-384 (2014) [C1]

Deficit theorisations of Chinese Learners studying in western countries are criticised for dichotomising learning attributes into Surface- or Deep-learning approaches. Subsequent ... [more]

Deficit theorisations of Chinese Learners studying in western countries are criticised for dichotomising learning attributes into Surface- or Deep-learning approaches. Subsequent context-dependent, small culture studies of students transiting between cultures theorise learning as a dynamic journey of adapting to a range/continuum of learning attributes. Here we employ the transformative learning theory to examine whether pedagogical interventions could facilitate adaptation to deeper learning strategies by couching discipline-specific detail/facts within the discipline's theoretical structure. Our longitudinal case-study of Chinese Learners in an Australian tertiary institution revealed that (1) Achievement-motivated CLs were more likely to harness the benefits of this discipline-specific pedagogical intervention and move towards independent, student-centred learning than Surface-motivated CLs; (2) Achievement-motivated CLs were less likely to normalise teacher-centredness than Surface-motivated CLs despite being exposed to examination tips early in their enrolment; and (3) fluency in the host language is instrumental to adapting successfully to deeper learning. © 2014 © 2014 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.

DOI 10.1080/0305764X.2014.914154
Co-authors Christine Yap
2013 Saravanamuthu K, Lehman C, 'Enhancing stakeholder interaction through environmental risk accounts', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 24 410-437 (2013) [C1]

Accounting should mobilise growing awareness of environmental degradation into harm mitigation strategies by representing humanity's relational existence with nature. Catchment-or... [more]

Accounting should mobilise growing awareness of environmental degradation into harm mitigation strategies by representing humanity's relational existence with nature. Catchment-oriented accounting directs attention to the harm inflicted by unsustainable practices by integrating measurements of the multiple causes of degradation into meaningful accounts. We propose a semi-qualitative risk matrix to enhance stakeholder participation in the construction of these accounts: our matrix allows lay-stakeholders to use their lived experiences to socialise expert measurements, and thus embark on a journey of learning socially about sustainable living. An irrigation case-study is used to evaluate the extent to which irrigators displayed the following social learning capacities through their contribution to the construction of risk accounts on the impact of irrigation on their catchment: awareness of each other's competing-and-interdependent goals and perspectives, shared problem identification, appreciation of the complex issues at hand, motivation to work collaboratively, trust and the creation of formal-informal relationships. Four of seven irrigators displayed many of these capacities as they contested unsustainable values embedded in conventional irrigation discourse, and articulated less harmful priorities. The remaining irrigators took advantage of the analytical-deliberative spaces (provided by our matrix and accounts) to better appreciate the environmental impact of irrigation. © 2013 .

DOI 10.1016/j.cpa.2013.02.002
2013 Saravanamuthu K, Brooke C, Gaffikin M, 'ERP and precautionary ethics: Harnessing critical thinking to engender sustainability', Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 11 92-111 (2013) [C1]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review critical emancipatory literature to identify a discourse that could be used to successfully customise generic Enterprise Resource P... [more]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review critical emancipatory literature to identify a discourse that could be used to successfully customise generic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to particular user-needs. The customisation exercise is posited in the context of contemporary society, which has to try to become more sustainable amidst uncertainty about the complex interrelationships between elements of the ecosystem. It raises new challenges for the customisation exercise, that of fostering the precautionary ethos and engaging realistically with complexity and uncertainty inherent in emergent knowledge about ecological resilience. Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper that draws on published research papers to tease out political constructs which are vital for facilitating sustainable decisions. Findings: This paper argues that the critical emancipatory influence on systems design has generated attempts to formulate socio-ethical information systems. However, these systems are limited by their inability to engage with the politics of asymmetrical distribution of power, even though these systems rely on bottom-up participation to change the status quo. Hence, it is suggested that systems design should learn from Gandhi's experiences in mobilising social reform to instil a precautionary ethos in the context of asymmetrical power relations. The discourse used to customise ERP should facilitate social learning about ecological resilience as it affects the capacity to reform in the interest of sustainable outcomes. It is proposed that the discourse be socially constructed on the vocabulary of integrated risk because it would enable management to take advantage of lived experiences and enhance the organisation's capacity to learn about formulating sustainable business practices. Practical implications: The recommended approach to identifying user-needs (in customising ERP) is based on Gandhi's tried-and-tested approaches of mobilising bottom-up participation in social reform. Originality/value: This paper brings in Eastern philosophy (namely Advaitic thinking) into the predominately Western-dominated systems design arena. Its value lies in its practical applicability to real-world design challenges. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

DOI 10.1108/JICES-12-2012-0020
Citations Scopus - 1
2013 Saravanamuthu K, Brooke C, Gaffikin M, 'The next phase in information management: using risk to integrate data and facilitate social learning about sustainability', International Journal of Business and Systems Research, 7 266-291 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1504/IJBSR.2013.055320
Citations Scopus - 1
2009 Kaufman A, Saravanamuthu K, 'The dilemma in monitoring voluntary labour standards: Labour's 'muted' consent to exploit itself', Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 14 297-319 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1108/S1041-7060(2009)0000014012
2009 Saravanamuthu K, 'Guest editor', Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 14 (2009) [C2]
2009 Saravanamuthu K, 'Developing Schumacher's total accounting into an accountability interface between the science of climate change and the sustainability discourse', Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 14 3-11 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1108/S1041-7060(2009)0000014004
2009 Saravanamuthu K, 'A journey of socialising the risks associated with global warming: A Gandhian insight into Schumacher's total accounting and accountability', Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 14 121-189 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1108/S1041-7060(2009)0000014008
Citations Scopus - 5
2008 Saravanamuthu K, 'Reflecting on the Biggs-Watkins theory of the Chinese Learner', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 19 138-180 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.cpa.2005.12.005
Citations Scopus - 13
2008 Saravanamuthu K, Tinker T, 'Ethics in Education: Chinese Learner and post-Enron ethics', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 19 129-137 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.cpa.2006.09.005
Citations Scopus - 5
2007 Saravanamuthu K, 'Gandhian-Vedic Emancipatory Accounting: Engendering a Spiritual Revolution in the Interest of Sustainable Development', Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 13 177-235 (2007) [C1]

The Gandhian-Vedic approach to development is synonymous with the advancement of spiritual agency. It emancipates society by trying to raise people's interconnectedness with natur... [more]

The Gandhian-Vedic approach to development is synonymous with the advancement of spiritual agency. It emancipates society by trying to raise people's interconnectedness with nature, mitigating capitalism's hegemony of consumerism on people's psyche and hence reducing the chances of individuals perpetuating the cycle of exploitation by adhering to capitalist norms. That is, the Gandhian-Vedic approach to discursive accountability minimises the risk of circularity in the dialectics of contradictions, which occurs when consenting behaviour replaces existing contradictions with another set of contradictions. It enables the actor to step off capitalism's treadmill of materialism and exploitation by centralising spiritual development. Its spiritual revolution involves caring for the whole whilst engaging with social structures. Here the Gandhian-Vedic logic is extended to emancipatory accounting by developing accounting as a discursive risk assessment tool that minimises the fragmentation of time and space aspects of performance. Its holistic representation of performance could change perceptions about interconnectedness between an individual's behaviour, nature and society. It is the antithesis of conventional accounting's prioritisation of private interest over responsibility for the whole. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1016/S1041-7060(07)13008-X
Citations Scopus - 2
2006 Saravanamuthu K, 'Emancipatory accounting and sustainable development: A Gandhian-Vedic theorization of experimenting with truth', SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 14 234-244 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/sd.266
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 8
2005 Saravanamuthu K, 'Benchmarking: A socio-economic interrogation of its global-local disconnect', Critical Perspectives on International Business, 1 20-42 (2005) [C1]

Purpose - To examine how the construction of benchmarks influences the discourse of national productivity, and hence shed light on the competitive-interdependent relationship betw... [more]

Purpose - To examine how the construction of benchmarks influences the discourse of national productivity, and hence shed light on the competitive-interdependent relationship between global capital and domestic labour. Design/methodology/approach - A study of a government inquiry into the Australian automotive industry (in 1996) is used to argue that the formulation of socially conscionable public policy is made more difficult by the international legitimisation of benchmarks. Findings - The inclusion of structural factors will mitigate the power of accounting discourse to normalise behaviour because it gives rise to glaring discrepancies between shared experiences and accounting's inscribed reality. The inscribed reality is distorted by the decontextualised nature of benchmarks. Further, the global legitimisation of benchmarks makes it more difficult for the state to disregard their influence. Originality/value - Combines, compares and re-evaluates earlier literature and studies. Leaves the door open for the practice of benchmarking to emphasise a process of establishing sustainable local goals, rather than a means of institutionalising a dominant mode of production across the globe.© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

DOI 10.1108/17422040510577889
Citations Scopus - 1
2005 Saravanamuthu K, 'CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: DOES ANY SIZE FIT?', CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: DOES ANY SIZE FIT, 11 1-11 (2005) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/S1041-7060(05)11001-3
Citations Web of Science - 2
2004 Saravanamuthu K, 'What is measured counts: Harmonized corporate reporting and sustainable economic development', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15 295-302 (2004) [C1]

Keynes argued for the continued prioritization of economic goals over social needs on grounds that the time was not right for social conscience to prevail: "For at least another h... [more]

Keynes argued for the continued prioritization of economic goals over social needs on grounds that the time was not right for social conscience to prevail: "For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight" (1930, cited in Schumacher, 1973, p. 22). This essay illustrates therole that accounting plays in confining management practices within the "economic necessity" tunnel amidst social and environmental degradation. A recent report on The World Bank's performance in developing countries is used to argue that the conventional accounting framework is not an appropriate tool to guide organized effort in balancing the competing-interdependent needs of multiple stakeholders. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1016/S1045-2354(03)00063-7
Citations Scopus - 23
2004 Saravanamuthu K, 'Gold-collarism in the Academy: The dilemma in transforming bean-counters into knowledge consultants', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15 587-607 (2004) [C1]

Kelley (1985) coins the term "gold-collar" to signify the end of knowledge workers' struggle for control over the labour process. He argues that their ability to turn knowledge in... [more]

Kelley (1985) coins the term "gold-collar" to signify the end of knowledge workers' struggle for control over the labour process. He argues that their ability to turn knowledge into profits make them crucial for the survival of the firm in the Information Age. Kelley's win-win outcome (making the world a better place) is dependent on the formulation of new rules of engagement and accountability to harness gold-collar knowledge and creativity. By definition, gold-collarism includes accountants and it draws attention to the "ethics versus profits" dilemma the profession is embroiled in. The (gold-collared) profession appears to have abandoned its public interest role for a more lucrative one of consulting-partner to the business community despite its presumed impartiality in transforming management's rules of engagement (with multiple stakeholders). Further, its pronouncements on future directions seek to commodify accounting education to produce compliant hegemonic technicians. It should instead seek to formulate ethical accountability by enabling a healthy struggle over ideologies. This paper applies Gramsci's (1971, 1995) dialectic of formative-instructive education to argue that it is an opportune moment for critical accounting to raise awareness of the politics behind these rules of engagement - as a precursor to innovating sustainable business practices for the 21st century. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citations Scopus - 12
2004 Saravanamuthu K, Filling S, 'A critical response to managerialism in the Academy', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15 437-452 (2004) [C1]

This editorial-cum-introduction to A Critical Response to Managerialism in the Academy uses the dialectic between components of New Public Management (namely, cost efficiency and ... [more]

This editorial-cum-introduction to A Critical Response to Managerialism in the Academy uses the dialectic between components of New Public Management (namely, cost efficiency and public accountability) to connect all papers in this special issue. It draws on earlier studies on the New Public Management ethos to explain academics' responses to managerialist teaching and research initiatives. And in the aftermath of the Enron et al., disasters it also explores means to revive accounting as an ethical discipline. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citations Scopus - 13
2003 Saravanamuthu K, Tinker T, 'Politics of managing: the dialectic of control', ACCOUNTING ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIETY, 28 37-64 (2003) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/S0361-3682(02)00009-0
Citations Scopus - 25Web of Science - 8
2002 Saravanamuthu K, 'Information technology and ideology', JOURNAL OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 17 79-87 (2002)
DOI 10.1080/02683960210145977
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 13
2002 Saravanamuthu K, 'The political lacuna in participatory systems design', JOURNAL OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 17 185-198 (2002)
DOI 10.1080/0268396022000017743
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 6
2002 Saravanamuthu K, Tinker T, 'The university in the new corporate world', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 13 545-554 (2002)
DOI 10.1006/cpac.2002.0551
Citations Scopus - 24
Show 18 more journal articles

Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2011 Saravanamuthu K, Lehman C, Nyamori RO, 'Facilitating social learning by integrating the multiple attributes of environmental degradation into risk-based accounts', Critical Perspectives on Accounting 2011 Conference Papers, Clearwater Beach, FL (2011) [E1]
2009 Saravanamuthu K, Lehman C, 'Accounting for the climate change footprint: Socialising the risk attributes of a carbon-intensive economy', IPA 2009 Program, Innsbruck, Austria (2009) [E3]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 3
Total funding $24,290

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20121 grants / $8,072

Phase 2 of pilot study that seeks to improve management of the natural water cycle by providing stakeholders with integrated risk assessments.$8,072

Funding body: Lake Macquarie City Council

Funding body Lake Macquarie City Council
Project Team Associate Professor Kala Saravanamuthu
Scheme Lake Macquarie Environmental Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1201014
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Local
Category 2OPL
UON Y

20101 grants / $15,654

Pilot study that seeks to improve management of the natural water cycle by providing stakeholders with integrated risk assessments$15,654

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Associate Professor Kala Saravanamuthu
Scheme Special Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2010
GNo G1000717
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20091 grants / $564

Developing and using multiple criteria risk-management models employing financial and non-financial data to measure sustainable development in local communities: A case-study methodology$564

Funding body: CPA Australia

Funding body CPA Australia
Project Team Associate Professor Kala Saravanamuthu, Emeritus Professor Jack Flanagan
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo G0189835
Type Of Funding Contract - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFC
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Current Supervision

Commenced Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2013 Professional Accounting Labour Market: Accounting for Recruitment Decisions
Accounting, Faculty of Business and Law
Co-Supervisor
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Associate Professor Kala Saravanamuthu

Positions

Associate Professor
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

DBA Supervisor
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

Focus area

Accounting and Finance

Contact Details

Email kalathevi.saravanamuthu@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7226

Office

Room SRS 211
Building Social Science
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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