I am Professor of Accounting, Governance and Society and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Investment Risk at the Alliance Manchester Business School. I joined AMBS in April 2020, after having held a Chair in Accounting, Governance and Social innovation at the University of Edinburgh Business School, where I also was Dean of Special Projects at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences until April 2018. I am also an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford, where I am still Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Italian Studies at Oxford, which I co-founded while being there as Reader in Accounting at the Saïd Business School (in association with an Official Studentship, i.e. fellowship, at Christ Church). I have been serving on the Thought Leadership and Ethics Committee of the AICPA-CIMA for a few years and I now Chair the Corporate Reporting Development Panel. I currently serve on the ‘Cost Estimation and Planning’ Panel of the UK Ministry of Defence, reporting to the MoD Secretary of State. In 2019-20, I was a Member of the Advisory Group on the Future of Corporate Reporting at the Financial Reporting Council.
Since September 2021, I have been the co-Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.
in 2022, the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) honoured me with the 5th EIASM Interdisciplinary Leader Award.
My academic journey begun at the University of Palermo, where I graduated in Economics and Management before pursuing my doctoral studies at the University of Catania. After my doctorate, I was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship by the European Commission to pursue studies on management control system in large multinational organisations at the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Manchester. I then moved to the University Carlos III of Madrid, as assistant professor, and to Oxford as Lecturer and then Reader in Accounting. Before joining Edinburgh, I was Professor of Accounting and Management Control at IE Business School, Madrid.
I have also had visiting and research positions at Luigi Bocconi of Milan, the Universities of Catania, HEC-Paris, Kyoto, Madrid Carlos III, Manchester, Oxford, Palermo, Siena, and Sydney, as a Fulbright New Century Scholar, at the University of Stanford, where I pursued research on the contours of business education.
My research interests are quite diverse but they all relate to how knowledge, and business knowledge in particular, emerges, engages, establish itself as ‘truth’ and informs and relates to decision-making processes. Studying accounting is perfect for this purpose as it is nowadays an ubiquitous practice that informs and relates to many aspects of the life of individuals, and the functioning of organisations, economies and societies.
I tend to do a substantial amount of historical work as, for me, studying accounting in different times (and spaces) is a way to defamiliarise ourselves from what accounting is nowadays supposed to be (i.e. a practice related exclusively to economic and financial calculations) and to explore alternatives which enable more equal, I would say more balanced, organisations and society (see my Research page).
I currently also research and consult in the area of Major Programme Management, especially in relation to issues of reporting design and visualisation for managing costs, risk and uncertainty, of governance and leadership, and I collaborate with the Infrastructure and Project Authority of the UK Cabinet in the area of Major Programme Management, thanks to an ESRC impact grant. This has lead to the development of the Maieutic Index, a tool to assess the maturity and quality of decision making, especially in relation to governance, communication, mediation and engagement practices.
Through my collaborations with various accounting bodies and other initiatives, I hope to make a difference in how the profession deals with issues of representation of financial data, transparency and users’ engagement. Most of my research is currently heading towards the need to rethink management theories and practices to acknowledge the role of what is not visible, out of sight, absent and incomplete have in decision making. Think about why one buys a diet soda, because of the lack of sugar. Thinking in negative terms (e.g. an i-Phone is not a phone…) opens up a range of possibilities to manage the unknown, account for the unknowable and deliver innovative solution to complex problems, grand challenges and major programmes.
In my capacity of Dean of Special Projects, I led the efforts and significantly contributed to raising funds for the developmet of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, a new interdisciplinary Institute at the University of Edinburgh which aims to redefine the way in which we understand and manage organizations, economies, and public policies by rethinking higher education.