John Roberts


Professor

Rm 311
H69 - Codrington Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9351 8611
Fax +61 2 9351 6638
john.roberts@sydney.edu.au

Bio

John Roberts obtained his doctorate in from the UMIST in 1984. He subsequently held Senior Research Fellowships at the Department of Accounting and Finance at Manchester University, the Centre For Business Strategy at London Business School, and St. Catherine's College Cambridge, before taking up a lectureship at the newly created Judge Business School in Cambridge in 1991. He has worked at the University of Sydney Business School since 2007.

His qualitative research work spans three main areas of interest; the uses of accounting information in processes of organisational accountability, corporate governance and, in particular, the impact of regulation on the dynamics of board roles and relationships, and the nature of ethics in business. His work on accountability began immediately after his doctorate and applied Giddens' structuration theory to explore the uses of accounting information in creating accountability within organisations. This work resulted in a series of early papers in Accounting, Organizations and Society which continue to be widely cited. It was this work that formed the basis of the second focus of his research - corporate governance and, in particular, qualitative studies of board roles and relationships, and company /fund manager meetings. This work has resulted in several empirical and theoretical publications in Long Range Planning, Human Relations, the British Journal of Management, and Accounting, Organizations and Society as well as a series of more practitioner oriented reports. It also influenced UK corporate governance reform by informing the 2003 Higgs review of the Role and Effectiveness of the Non-Executive Director. His third area of research has been into the nature of ethics in business. An early empirical piece drawing upon the work of Alasdair MacIntyre in the Journal of Management Studies was followed by a number of innovative papers. A special issue of Business Ethics Quarterly included one of the earliest papers to introduce the work of Levinas to the academic business ethics literature, and was followed by a widely cited paper in Organization on corporate social responsibility, and most recently in the Journal of Business Ethics. A related innovation has been theoretical work that draws upon psychoanalytic theory and, in particular, the work of Lacan, also published in Organization. His most recent work has combined these themes in analysing and exploring the global financial crisis including two papers, one on self interest and the other on the limits of transparency in Accounting, Organizations and Society, and a forthcoming paper in Culture and Organisation on the role of pay practices in the crisis.

Selected publications

2018

Journal Article

Roberts J (2018) Managing only with transparency: The strategic functions of ignorance Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 55, 53-60. [More Information]

Book Chapter

Roberts J (2018) Accountability The Routledge Companion to Critical Accounting; Routledge, Oxon, 225-239. [More Information]

2016

Journal Article

Beaumont S, Ratiu R, Reeb D, Boyle G, Brown P, Szimayer A, Da Silva Rosa R, Hillier D, McColgan P, Roberts J, and et al (2016) Comments on Shan and Walter: 'Towards a Set of Design Principles for Executive Compensation Contracts' Abacus, 52 (4), 685-771. [More Information]

2015

Journal Article

Roberts J (2015) The 'subject' of corruption Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 28, 82-88. [More Information]

2014

Journal Article

Roberts J (2014) Testing the limits of structuration theory in accounting research Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 25 (2), 135-141. [More Information]

2013

Journal Articles

Birnberg J, Bromwich M, and Roberts J (2013) Anthony G. Hopwood: Academic Iconoclast and Entrepreneur 1944-2010 Accounting Horizons, 27 (4), 895-907. [More Information]

Fleming P, Roberts J, and Garsten C (2013) In search of corporate social responsibility: Introduction to special issue Organization, 20 (3), 337-348. [More Information]

Seidl D, Sanderson P, and Roberts J (2013) Applying the "Comply or Explain" principle: Discursive legitimacy tactics with regard to codes of corporate governance Journal of Management and Governance, 17 (3), 791-826. [More Information]

2012

Journal Articles

Barker R, Hendry J, Roberts J, and Sanderson P (2012) Can company-fund manager meetings convey informational benefits? Exploring the rationalisation of equity investment decision making by UK fund managers Accounting, Organizations and Society, 37 (4), 207-222. [More Information]

Roberts J, and Ng W (2012) Against economic (mis)conceptions of the individual: Constructing financial agency in the credit crisis Culture and Organization, 18 (2), 91-105. [More Information]

Book Chapters

Roberts J (2012) Trust and control in Anglo-American systems of corporate governance: the individualising and socialising effects of processes of accountability New Direction in Business Ethics; Sage Publications.

Roberts J (2012) Motivation and the Self Introducing Organization Behaviour and Management; Cengage Australia (Formerly Thomson).

Roberts J (2012) Between the Letter and the Spirit: Defensive and Extensive Modes of Compliance with the UK Code of Corporate Governance The Sage Handbook of Corporate Governance; Sage Publications, London, United Kingdom, 196-216. [More Information]

Roberts J (2012) Agency without Agents: Exploring the Relationship between Identity and Ethics Belief and Organization; Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom, 144-162. [More Information]

2011

Journal Article

Baker M, and Roberts J (2011) All in the mind? Ethical Identity and the Allure of Corporate Responsibility Journal of Business Ethics, 101 (Supplement 1), 5-15. [More Information]

Conference Proceedings

Roberts J (2011) Accounting for self interest in the credit crisis 9th Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference 2009, Innsbruck.

Roberts J (2011) Experimenting with subjection: 20 years of UK corporate governance 27th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium EGOS 2011; University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Young A, Roberts J, and Boedker C (2011) The art of valuation: Translating environment, social and governance information Oikos Third Annual Young Scholars Finance Academy 2011:The Future of Responsible Investment.

2010

Book Chapters

Roberts J (2010) Corporate Governance and the Ethics of Narcissus Corporate Governance and Business Ethics; Edward Elgar Publishing, London, UK. [More Information]

Roberts J (2010) The Power of the ‘Imaginary’ in disciplinary processes Structure and Agency; Sage Publications, London. [More Information]

Working Paper

Sanderson P, Seidl D, Roberts J, and Krieger B (2010) Flexible or not? The Comply or Explain Principle in the UK and German Corporate Governance.

2009

Journal Articles

Roberts J (2009) Faith in the numbers Ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 9 (4), 335-343.

Roberts J (2009) Book Review: Global accountabilities: participation, pluralism and public ethics European Accounting Review, 18 (2), 408-412.

Roberts J (2009) No one is perfect: The limits of transparency and an ethic for 'intelligent' accountability Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34 (8), 957-970. [More Information]

Roberts J (2009) Book Review: Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism and Public Ethics European Accounting Review, 18 (2), 408-412. [More Information]

Roberts J, and Jones M (2009) Accounting for self interest in the credit crisis Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34 (6-7), 856-867. [More Information]

Conference Proceedings

Roberts J (2009) No one is perfect: some reflections of the limits of transparency and the ethics of accountability Critical Management Studies Conference 2009, Warwick.

Roberts J (2009) No one is perfect: The limits of transparency and an ethic for intelligent accountability 25th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium EGOS 2009: Passion for creativity and innovation: energizing the study of organizations and organizing; European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Germany.

Roberts J (2009) Strategic value accountability? The mediating role of the board Workshop on Strategizing and Accounting, London.

Working Paper

Seidl D, Sanderson P, and Roberts J (2009) Applying "Comply or Explain"; conformance with Codes of Corporate Governance.

2008

Conference Proceedings

Roberts J (2008) No one is perfect: some reflections of the limits of transparency and the ethics of accountability Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, Sydney, Australia.

Roberts J (2008) No one is perfect: some reflections of the limits of transparency and the ethics of accountability The Shadow Line of Accountability, Venice, Italy.

2007

Journal Articles

Hendry J, Sanderson P, Barker R, and Roberts J (2007) Responsible Ownership, Shareholder Value and the New Shareholder Activism Competition and Change, 11 (3), 223-240.

Ng W, and Roberts J (2007) 'Helping the family': The mediating role of outside directors in ethnic Chinese family firms Human Relations, 60 (2), 285-314. [More Information]

2006

Journal Articles

Hendry J, Sanderson P, Barker R, and Roberts J (2006) Owners or traders? Conceptualizations of institutional investors and their relationship with corporate managers Human Relations, 59 (8), 1101-1132. [More Information]

Learmount S, and Roberts J (2006) Meanings of Ownership of the Firm Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 17 (1-2), 139-162. [More Information]

Roberts J, Sanderson P, Barker R, and Hendry J (2006) In the Mirror of the Market: the disciplinary effects of company / fund manager meetings Accounting, Organizations and Society, 31 (3), 277-294. [More Information]

Book Chapter

Roberts J (2006) Motivation and the Self Management and Organisations; an introductory text; Thompson LBC.

Seminar Paper

Ng W, and Roberts J (2006) 'Helping the Family': The mediating role of outside directors in ethnic Chinese family firms Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference; Sage Publications, London.

Report

Roberts J (2006) Board evaluation; some lessons from early experience.

2005

Journal Articles

McNulty T, Roberts J, and Stiles P (2005) Undertaking Governance Reform and Research: Further reflections on the Higgs review British Journal of Management, 16 (1), 99-107. [More Information]

McNulty T, Roberts J, and Stiles P (2005) Undertaking Governance Reform and Research: Further Reflections on the Higgs Review British Journal of Management, 16 (S1), S99-S107. [More Information]

Roberts J (2005) The power of the ‘Imaginary’ in disciplinary processes Organization, 12 (5), 619-642.

Roberts J (2005) The Power of the 'Imaginary' in Disciplinary Processes Organization, 12 (5), 619-642. [More Information]

Roberts J (2005) Agency theory, Ethics and Corporate Governance Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 11, 249-269. [More Information]

Roberts J (2005) Agency theory, ethics and corporate governance Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 11, 249-269.

Roberts J, McNulty T, and Stiles P (2005) Beyond Agency Conceptions of the Work of the Non-Executive Director; creating accountability in the boardroom British Journal of Management, 16 (Sup. 1), S5-S26. [More Information]

Roberts J, McNulty T, and Stiles P (2005) Beyond Agency Conceptions of the Work of the Non-Executive Director: creating accountability in the boardroom British Journal of Management, 16 (1), S5-S6. [More Information]

Sanderson P, Hendry J, Roberts J, and Barker R (2005) Regulating the Corporation: The Role of the Institutional Investor Corporate Ownership and Control, 3 (1), 127-134.

Sanderson P, Hendry J, Roberts J, and Barker R (2005) Regulating the Corporation: The Role of the Institutional Investor Corporate Ownership and Control, 3 (1), 127-134. [More Information]

Book Chapters

Roberts J (2005) Beyond Rhetoric: Making a Reality of Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility; Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke [England] ; New York, 3-19.

Roberts J, and Scapens R (2005) Accounting Systems and Systems of Accountability- Understanding Accounting Practises in their Organizational Contexts Accounting, The Social and the Political: Classics, Contemporary and Beyond; Elsevier, London, 67-72.

Seminar Papers

Roberts J (2005) Helping the extended family; the role of outside directors in ethnic Chinese, family-controlled firms Critical Management Studies Conference; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Roberts J (2005) Accounting and Ethics 28th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association; 28th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, Australia.

Report

Roberts J (2005) The Role of the Board in Creating a High Performance Business.

2004

Seminar Paper

Roberts J (2004) Creating effective boards through behaviour and relationships; complementary developments in governance research Researching Board Practices and Relationships; creating actionable research; Rowan University College of Business, New Orleans.

Report

Roberts J (2004) NGO Governance: the lessons of corporate governance reform.

2003

Journal Articles

Goodall K, and Roberts J (2003) Only Connect: teamwork in the multinational Journal of World Business, 38 (2), 150-164. [More Information]

Goodall K, and Roberts J (2003) Repairing Managerial Knowledge-ability over Distance Organization Studies, 24 (7), 1153-1175. [More Information]

Roberts J (2003) The Manufacture of Corporate Social Responsibility: constructing corporate sensibility Organization, 10 (2), 249-265. [More Information]

Seminar Papers

Roberts J (2003) The Power of the Imaginary in Disciplinary Processes Re-contextualizing Control: the 'new control model' revisited; Cardiff Business School, Cardiff.

Roberts J (2003) Skilful Management Practice? On the importance of knowing that we do not know' EGOS conference; European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Copenhagen.

Roberts J (2003) Agency without Agents Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS); University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Roberts J, Barker R, Hendry J, and Sanderson P (2003) In the mirror of the market; the disciplinary effects of company/ fund-manager meetings Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference; Sage Publications, London.

Report

Roberts J, Stiles P, and McNulty T (2003) Creating Accountability within the Board; the work of the effective non-executive director.

Recent Units Taught

  • ACCT6120 Corporate Governance and Accountability

Newsroom articles

  • John Roberts on ABC NewsRadio 03 Sep 2017

    ABC NewsRadio

    ABC NewsRadio interviewed Professor John Roberts on good corporate governance in relation to the negotiations between the Federal Government and AGL over the future of the Liddell power station.

  • Case study: Can ESG factors really be captured like financial data? 01 Oct 2015

    Principles of Responsible Investment RI Quarterly

    Principles of Responsible Investment RI Quarterly featured research by Professor John Roberts and Dr Anna Young-Ferris that examines whether ESG factors can be captured like financial data.

  • Supporters to 'right' image of MLC head 10 Dec 2012

    The Australian

    The Australian has interviewed Professor John Roberts, Business School, on corporate governance in relation to the dismissal of the principal of Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne.

See all Newsroom items for John Roberts