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Reflections on the progress in accounting for people and some observations on the prospects for a more successful future

Eric G. Flamholtz (Anderson School of Management, UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Ulf Johanson (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden)
Robin Roslender (Aalborg Business School, Aalborg, Denmark)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 4 November 2020




The paper celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Flamholtz’s seminal paper on the Human Resource Accounting approach to taking people into account, providing a critical review of its progress since that time and offering some thoughts on how the project might now be beneficially shaped.


The paper provides an authoritative review of the progress of the accounting for people project to date.


The continuing exploration of how it might be possible to take people into account is identified to be entering a new and exciting phase.

Research limitations/implications

The authors readily acknowledge that what the paper provides is an account of the evolution of the accounting for people field, which they argue is currently extending into a new and important phase relating to employee health and wellbeing.


The paper’s principal contribution lies in bringing together three authors who have made significant contributions to the topic of accounting for people over the past 50 years.



The authors wish to thank their many collaborators who over the years have contributed much to their work in the accounting for people field. Thanks also to three anonymous reviewers of this journal and its joint editor, Lee Parker, for an array of challenging and provocative comments on previous drafts of the paper.


Flamholtz, E.G., Johanson, U. and Roslender, R. (2020), "Reflections on the progress in accounting for people and some observations on the prospects for a more successful future", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 1791-1813.



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