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Reflections on interdisciplinary accounting research: the state of the art of intellectual capital

John Dumay (Department of Accounting & Corporate Governance, Faculty of Business & Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 2 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to offer reflections and critique not only on the current state of the art for intellectual capital research (ICR) from an interdisciplinary accounting research (IAR) perspective, but also its future directions.


This paper offers a critical reflection based on the author's observations as an IC researcher, reviewer and editor. The author also supports the arguments with some evidence from the research about IC research.


The author argues that most ICR is falling short of achieving “the most advanced level of knowledge and technology” of the art because it inherits flaws from prior research, thus threatening its legitimacy and impact.

Research limitations/implications

The author argues that researchers need to go back to the methodological drawing board when designing IAR so future research can achieve its full potential. To do so researchers also need their research to be transformational to engender change, and to be transdisciplinary, which encompasses research beyond the current boundaries of accounting and management.


The author identifies and introduces three research shortcuts that prevent ICR projects from being state of the art being copycat, Furphy and technophobic research which provide insights into why not all ICR research is not “state of the art”.



The author especially wants to thank the AAAJ Editors for their continued support towards developing leading edge thinking and critique about interdisciplinary accounting research and how it develops in the future. It is thorough constructive critical thinking based on open and honest critique that allows knowledge to be transformed. Thanks also to the author's friends (especially the non-accountants) and colleagues for their critique on the paper as it developed. Also, thanks to Fiona Crawford from the Editorial Collective for sterling editorial efforts.


Dumay, J. (2014), "Reflections on interdisciplinary accounting research: the state of the art of intellectual capital", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 1257-1264.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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