Max Baker

Photo of Max Baker

BBus(hons) UTS, PhD Sydney, CA
Senior Lecturer

Rm 318
H69 - Codrington Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9036 7084
Fax +61 2 9351 6638


Dr Max Baker is a senior lecturer in the Discipline of Accounting. Before his academic career, Max worked in a variety of roles for a number of large companies such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Macquarie Bank. Max’s academic research explores three main questions: How do companies formulate and implement of corporate strategy? How do companies develop corporate social responsibility initiatives? How to can stakeholders make companies more accountable to them? Max’s work has been published in a number of top tier academic journals, books, policy papers and industry reports. In 2014 Max was the recipient of the Emerald/EFMD award for best PhD thesis in the area of interdisciplinary accounting. He has also been engaged in a number of policy debates on TV, radio, online media and in newspapers. Max is the coordinator of two management accounting courses at the University of Sydney and is an active member of the Pacioli Society and the to Organization Discourse Strategy and Change Group, both of these groups link colleagues at the University of Sydney with practitioners, business leaders and other researchers across the globe. Max is currently supervising PhD student Munna Salekin (with Assoc Prof Jane Andrew) whose project investigates the management of knowledge workers. He is also a chief investigator of a nationwide investigation of the costs, performance and accountability of Australian private prisons.

Research Interests

Costs, Performance and Accountability of Private Prisons

Various state governments across Australia have turned to privatisation as a way of dealing with the often difficult provision of public services.

Along with Associate Professor Jane Andrew, Dr Max Baker has been at the forefront of reviewing the rolling out of privatisation as a policy response to growing prison costs. Their 2016 report on the state of play of all private prisons in Australia has become a highly cited report in the field. The report formed a reliable base for understanding prison costs, performance and accountability across the sector. The team has also provided research to a number of parliamentary inquiries into prisons across the country.

Max continues to review contracts, reports and inquiries, as well as conduct interviews with key stakeholders in prisons in order to understand the impact of changes in prison policy more broadly. Through conducting this research Max has produced high quality academic papers and book chapters on the topic.

Technology and Accountability

It is generally assumed that technology has improved transparency of powerful companies and governments. The digital age has made the distribution of large amounts of information frictionless. This has facilitated the mass leaking of government cables and documents as well as the exposure of tax havens. Dr Baker’s research explores what having these documents in the public domain means for accountability and democracy more generally and whether having access to such deep and controversial records actually leads to positive change. His research in the field involves reading hundreds of cables and analyzing these both in relation to other sources of information, as well as in relation to changes in NGO activism, regulation and laws.

Max is also interested in the hidden accumulation and trade of data on individuals – namely Big Data. The Internet has made it possible for billions of gigabytes (exabytes) of personal information to be accumulated every year. Research has tended to focus on the promise of big data to solve complex societal and business problems. In doing this big data, in concert with powerful algorithms, have made habits, behaviours and psychological traits of whole populations highly predictable. Dr Baker is interested in what this increased predictability means for individual privacy, rights and democracy more generally. He continues to write academic papers and media pieces on the topic.

Selected publications


Journal Articles

Andrew J, and Baker M (2019) The General Data Protection Regulation in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism Journal of Business Ethics, In Press. [More Information]

Baker M, and Modell S (2019) Rethinking performativity: A critical realist analysis of accounting for corporate social responsibility Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 32 (4), 930-956. [More Information]


Book Chapter

Andrew J, and Baker M (2018) The Real Cost of Prison Reform: The Case of Privatisation in Victoria Wrong Way: How Privatisation and Economic Reform Backfired; La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc., Carlton, 85-100.


Andrew J, and Baker M (2018) Accountability, Costs and Performance of Private Prisons in NSW: Submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Parklea Correctional Centre and Other Operational Issues.


Journal Article

Jones S, Baker M, and Lay B (2017) The Relationship between CSR and Tax Avoidance: An International Perspective Australian Tax Forum, 32, 95-127.



Andrew J, Baker M, and Roberts P (2016) Prison Privatisation in Australia: The State of the Nation; The University of Sydney Business School, Sydney, 1-69.


Journal Article

Baker M, and Schaltegger S (2015) Pragmatism and new directions in social and environmental accountability research Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 28 (2), 263-294. [More Information]


Andrew J, Baker M, and Roberts P (2015) The Cost of Commissioning: Research Report on the Proposed Reforms to Western Australian Prisons Sector.


Journal Article

Baker M, and Andrew J (2014) Obama's concession on spying makes implicit case for leaks The Conversation, 21 January. [More Information]

Newspaper Article

Baker M (2014) Good reason to be a lawyer The Australian .


Journal Articles

Andrew J, and Baker M (2013) Senate run must be more than a get-out-of-jail card for Assange The Conversation, 2 April.

Baker M (2013) Archer Daniels Midland, GrainCorp and the liability firewall The Conversation, 1-3.

Baker M (2013) How CSR transforms the pursuit of profit into moral mission The Conversation, 1-3.


Book Chapter

Baker M, Brown D, and Malmi T (2012) An Integrated Package of Environmental Management Control Systems Best Practices in Management Accounting; Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom, 115-129. [More Information]


Journal Articles

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]

De Cock C, Baker M, and Volkmann C (2011) Financial Phantasmagoria: Corporate Image-Work in Times of Crisis Organization, 18 (2), 153-172. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Baker M (2010) Office window Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 23 (8), 1063-1063. [More Information]

Baker M (2010) Re-conceiving managerial capture Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 23 (7), 847-867. [More Information]


Journal Article

Baker M (2009) Article Review: Conceptualising future change in corporate sustainability reporting by Adams C.A. and G. Whelan Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 29 (1), 30-31.

Conference Proceeding

Baker M (2009) A case study of the discursive and subjective effects of Corporate Social Responsibility 8th Australasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research CSEAR 2009; University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Conference Proceedings

Baker M (2008) Re-conceiving 'managerial capture' 31st Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association (EAA) 2008; European Accounting Association, Netherlands.

Baker M (2008) Re-conceiving Managerial Capture 7th Australasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research A-CSEAR 2008; Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia, Australia.

Baker M (2008) Re-conceiving 'managerial capture' Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (AFAANZ/IAAER) 2008; The Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, Sydney.


Conference Proceeding

Baker M, Brown D, and Malmi T (2007) Implementing environmental strategy with management control systems 30th Annual Congress of European Accounting Association (EAA); European Accounting Association, Portugal.

Selected grants

2018 - 2019


2016 - 2017


Recent Units Taught

  • ACCT3012 Management Accounting B

  • ACCT3020 Advanced Issues in Management Accounting

  • ACCT3032 Current Issues in Management Accounting

  • ACCT5002 Managerial Accounting and Decision Making

  • BUSS4112 Accounting Honours A

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