Re-visiting the interface between race and accounting

Filipino workers at the Hamakua Mill Company, 1921-1939

Maria Cadiz Dyball, Jim Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The interface of race and accounting in Hawaiian sugar plantations is a subject that is unresolved in Accounting History (Fleischman & Tyson, 2000, 2002; Burrows, 2002). The authors interpret surviving archival material of the Hamakua Mill Company from 1921 to 1939 to shed further light on the "dark side of accounting" in the control of Filipino workers. We find that accounting was not complicit in the suppression of Filipinos' wages and job advancement. Individual worker productivity data, the absence of which Fleischman and Tyson (2000) ascribe to the salience of race in labour control, was developed and used from the 1920s. Racialisation continued, however, in our view, driven by business imperatives to manage scarce human resources. Management knowingly used this accounting information to identify preferred workers and reduce worker turnover and meet U.S. Immigration requirements. Archival evidence also points to improved opportunities for advancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • accounting
  • Filipino workers
  • Hawaii
  • labour control
  • race
  • sugar plantations

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