To read this content please select one of the options below:

Crisis and organizational change: IASB’s response to the financial crisis

Masaki Kusano (Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan)
Masatsugu Sanada (Faculty of Contemporary Business, Kyoto Tachibana University, Kyoto, Japan)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 5 June 2019




The purpose of this study is to examine the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)’s response to criticism and political pressure at the time of the global financial crisis through the lens of legitimacy theory.


This study constructs a thick description about a causal mechanism between social crisis and organizational change using a process-tracing approach that combines a historical narrative and a theoretical consideration.


The IASB faced criticism of its accounting standards for financial instruments and its governance structure during the financial crisis. This criticism represented the crises of pragmatic and cultural legitimacy. Facing these legitimacy crises, the IASB adopted such legitimation strategies as normalization and restructuring to repair its legitimacy. Additionally, in these repairing processes, the IASB, as a bonus, became institutionally embedded itself in the global political arena and succeeded to strengthen its legitimacy.


The study suggests that the financial crisis had a significant impact on the standardization of transnational accounting. Indeed, the crisis was an important turning point of the IASB’s work on revising its accounting standards to reduce complexity and altering its Constitution. Moreover, the authors bridge the gaps in the literature on accounting and legitimacy by examining how the IASB used particular legitimacy repair strategies when facing its legitimacy crises



The authors would like to thank Zahirul Hoque (editor) and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the EAA Annual Congress 2013 in Paris, the APIRA Conference 2013 in Kobe, the AAA Annual Meeting 2013 in Anaheim, and the GAOC conference 2017 in Melbourne. Our particular thanks to valuable comments received from participants, especially David J. Cooper, Lee Parker, Christine Cooper, Charles Richard Baker, Trevor Hopper, Yoshihiro Tokuga, Toshifumi Matsumoto, Norio Sawabe.

Kusano gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 22730353). Sanada also gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26285100).


Kusano, M. and Sanada, M. (2019), "Crisis and organizational change: IASB’s response to the financial crisis", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 278-301.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles