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Whereof one cannot speak … a comment on Vollmer (2019)

Christian Huber (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 5 July 2022




The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual reflection based on the author’s personal research experience, reading of the literature and contact with the academic education of emerging scholars.


In this reflection on the paper “Accounting for tacit coordination: The passing of accounts and the broader case for accounting theory” (Vollmer, 2019), the author argues that the silences of the qualitative empirical management accounting research process may preclude research from understanding the silences of accounting practitioners and shape the trajectory of the discipline as a whole.


The author presents a slightly exaggerated depiction of the qualitative empirical management accounting research process. From this, the author infers what impedes empirically studying unorthodox phenomena such as the silences of accounting practitioners.


The author offers a critical perspective on the author’s own research process, using accounting silences as way of reflecting on the potential and limitations of empirical research. Finally, the author makes tentative suggestions for opening up the standard research process.



The author would like to thank Nadine Gerhardt for her feedback and continuous support in developing the paper. The author would also like to thank the editors Lukas Goretzki and Thomas Ahrens for their initiative in making this text possible and guidance throughout. The author thanks also go to Hendrik Vollmer and the participants of the QRAM workshop on Hendrik’s text. Finally, The author want to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and Jacob T. Reilly for language support and comments on a previous version of the paper.


Huber, C. (2022), "Whereof one cannot speak … a comment on Vollmer (2019)", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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