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Importing a management accounting concept into the Russian language: a case of resistance from Russian academics

Alena Golyagina (School of Accounting, Information Systems and Supply Chain, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 23 March 2021

Issue publication date: 31 May 2021




Drawing on the semantic field theory, the paper aims to uncover the challenges of importing and translating a management accounting concept into the Russian language and the semantic nature of resistance towards the imported management accounting concept.


The paper draws on the extensive literature review of the histories of accounting in the Soviet Union and the United States in the first part of the twentieth century and 17 interviews conducted with the Russian accounting academics.


We demonstrate the case of resistance in adopting the imported Anglo-Saxon management accounting concept. We also discuss historical underpinning and origins of this resistance in light of semantic field theory.

Research limitations/implications

The paper calls for more research in the non-Anglo-Saxon contexts problematizing conventional assumptions and beliefs about objectivity and universality of accounting language.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates the importance of understanding historical and cross-cultural developments of accounting language for accounting educators and practitioners. Critical awareness of the differences in semantic fields of accounting can help accounting researchers and educators to develop contextualized research projects and context-relevant teaching practices.


The study contributes to the literature on translations of accounting concepts by demonstrating that accounting concepts are not understood in isolation, instead, they are interpreted in relation to each other. The present study demonstrates that the relationship between the management accounting concept (the signifier) and its meanings (signifieds) is fluid, culturally and historically contingent. To understand this relationship, we should attend to the historical development of semantic fields and associative relations between concepts.



Golyagina, A. (2021), "Importing a management accounting concept into the Russian language: a case of resistance from Russian academics", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 449-476.



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