Using causal layered analysis (CLA), a critical futures methodology, this paper maps and analyses a number of competing discourses relating to accountability to community within the scholarly literature. The focus is on the multiple perspectives expressed by scholars as viewed through the lens of corporate-community accountability. The aims are to challenge current dominant views, introduce a range of other views, and reflect on implications. Particular attention is on accountability issues where the impact on community is currently most obvious. This is business concerned with extracting raw materials from the earth. The scholarly literature is ordered along a continuum according to the level of citizen participation evident and the nature of that participation. CLA serves as both theoretical lens and methodological tool to deconstruct the range of views and enable a meta-level discussion of them. The analysis emphasises the CLA levels of worldview and metaphor. The results are a deeper understanding of the various perspectives and a reframing of accountability by broadening the concept beyond the business case. This suggests that CLA has something to offer both accountability and accounting. However, discerning the value of CLA in terms of moving corporate-community accountability forward is yet to be clarified through practical application in the field. Should CLA be of value, the wider ramification is a positive contribution to the economic world.
Keywords: accountability, accounting, Social and Environmental Accounting (SEA), social accounting, neoliberal economic theory, community stakeholders, extractive industry, Causal Layered Analysis (CLA), metaphors, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), dialogic approach, engagement