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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2016

Behind actions lie objectives, and behind objectives lie motives. Accounting theory undertakes to appraise intentions as goals, to explore reasons, and to see actions…

Abstract

Behind actions lie objectives, and behind objectives lie motives. Accounting theory undertakes to appraise intentions as goals, to explore reasons, and to see actions geared to intentions. Intentions, in turn, produce actions and the results from this confirm the initial intentions. Furthermore, interrelations among ideas can generate interrelations among actions. Interrelations among its actions and the related ideas indicate that accounting is a highly rational, thoroughly logical, and analytical technology.

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A. C. Littleton’s Final Thoughts on Accounting: A Collection of Unpublished Essays
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-389-4

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Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2021

Mohammad Nurunnabi

The study critically evaluates the theory of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) implementation in an attempt to provide directions for future research…

Abstract

The study critically evaluates the theory of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) implementation in an attempt to provide directions for future research. Using the extensive structured review of literature using the Scopus database tool, the study reviewed 79 articles, and in particular the topic-related 57 articles were analysed. Nine journals contribute to 51% of articles (29 of 57 articles). In particular, the three journals published 15 articles: Critical Perspectives on Accounting (7), Accounting, Organizations and Society (4), and Journal of Applied Accounting Research (4). In total, 83% (47 of 57) of the articles were published 2009–2018. A total of 1,168 citations were found from 45 articles since 12 articles were without citations. The highest cited authors were Ball (2006) – 410 citations, Kothari, Ramanna, and Skinner (2010) – 135 citations, and Napier (1989) – 85 citations. In particular, five theories have been used widely: institutional theory (13), accounting theory (6), agency theory (3), positive accounting theory (3), and process theory (2). Future studies’ focus could be on theory implications in IFRS adoption/implementation studies in a country or a group of countries’ experience. Future studies could also focus on various theories rather depending on a single theory (i.e. institutional theory).

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International Financial Reporting Standards Implementation: A Global Experience
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-440-4

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Abstract

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Understanding Mattessich and Ijiri: A Study of Accounting Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-841-3

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2009

Rob Gray, Dave Owen and Carol Adams

This chapter is a speculative examination of the way in which theory is used in the social accounting literature. It is intended as an initial guide for those approaching…

Abstract

This chapter is a speculative examination of the way in which theory is used in the social accounting literature. It is intended as an initial guide for those approaching the area for the first time; it is intended as a map for those in the field who would like to adopt a bigger picture for their work and it is intended as a wake-up call to those of us stuck in unconscious ruts. The chapter's departure point is the recognition that social accounting requires a reasonably sophisticated awareness of theory – not least because the subject matter itself is so contentious and conditional. The chapter's ambitions are to encourage a more evaluative and policy-based approach to the subject matter of social accounting; to offer a pedagogic basis to help others make some sense of theory in social accounting and to seek to empower and liberate social accounting scholars by assisting the range of their theorising. Social accounting scholars tend to approach the area with concerns and desires for liberation and possibility. Theory can help articulate those concerns and can support and encourage that desire. Above all, the chapter is explicitly partial, speculative and tentative, and it is not a formal or informed attempt to produce a theory of theories in social accounting. To articulate a range of the possible theories, we offer a simple heuristic through which we may navigate our way through the soup of concepts and perceptions that can blend into a potential infinity of ways of looking and seeing. We hope to encourage diversity and speculation rather than narrowness and alleged certainty.

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Sustainability, Environmental Performance and Disclosures
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-765-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

M. Shotter

To the extent that management accounting is based on neo‐classical economics, all decision‐making is assumed to be rational, aimed at utility or profit maximisation and…

Abstract

To the extent that management accounting is based on neo‐classical economics, all decision‐making is assumed to be rational, aimed at utility or profit maximisation and all circumstances influencing decisions are accepted as stationary. The approach excludes all social, cultural or historical considerations and is based on perfect information that is freely available. Neo‐classical economics further assumes that minimum government intervention, which is regulated by competition, will result in maximum benefit for society as a whole. This paper aims to determine the extent to which management accounting theory has been based on these limiting assumptions and finds that emerging management accounting theory is increasingly based on alternative, more liberating foundations. This situation is in contrast to management accounting education in South Africa, which remains almost entirely based on neo‐classical economics.

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Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1022-2529

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2010

D. Coetsee

Accounting theorists agree that no comprehensive theory of accounting has yet been developed. In the absence of such a theory, the question arises whether sufficient…

Abstract

Accounting theorists agree that no comprehensive theory of accounting has yet been developed. In the absence of such a theory, the question arises whether sufficient accounting principles are created through accounting research. This article acknowledges that accounting principles are not solely the result of academic research and that current accounting practice through its standard‐setting process contributes far more to the development of accounting principles. Hence the role that accounting theory and research should play in developing accounting principles is a vital academic question. The discussion in the article focuses on the normative and descriptive (or the more modern positivistic) approach to the development of accounting theory, the positivistic nature of mainstream accounting research, a possible decision‐useful theory of accounting and the role of interpretative and critical research. All of these developments are beneficial to accounting since they open up accounting to a diversity of research approaches that will collectively improve the status of accounting research and possibly accounting theory. The role that these developments fulfil in creating appropriate accounting principles, however, is debatable.

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

Orla Feeney and Bernard Pierce

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of accounting information in new product development (NPD) using Strong Structuration Theory. NPD is a complex social…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of accounting information in new product development (NPD) using Strong Structuration Theory. NPD is a complex social action involving a wide range of different actors and clusters of actors. Strong Structuration Theory allows the authors to take a broad view of this social system in order to develop a complete picture of the clusters of actors involved, to comprehensively examine the relevant structures, both internal and external, and to understand how these are formed, reformed or modified through the actions of agents.

Design/methodology/approach

A field study of the manufacturing division of a large group was conducted which explored how managers use accounting information during NPD. Examining how these managers draw upon their conjuncturally specific structures of signification, legitimation and domination, and how these are affected by their external structural conditions and their general dispositional frames of meaning, allowed the authors to develop an in-depth understanding of the managers’ behaviour during NPD.

Findings

These findings suggest that the managers’ use of accounting information is determined as much by the subjective nature of the managers themselves as it is by the objective characteristics of the structures with which they interact. By using Stones’ composite research strategy, which encourages the authors to conceive of internal structures as always looking outwards and external structures as always looking inwards, the findings help the authors to understand the “connecting tissue” between the different elements of the quadripartite of structuration which has been lacking in previous research in the area. This understanding of the connecting tissue between structures was facilitated by the micro-analysis of six managers within a given conjuncture. Using the concept of the agent-in-focus as a tool with which to switch lenses from manager to manager acknowledged the web-like interdependencies between different processes of structuration. This allowed an exploration of the relationships between the various agents and structures.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the understanding of Stones’ Strong Structuration Theory at both an ontological and methodological level by operationalising Stones’ model in a case study setting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Bruce Gurd

The paper revisits the intellectual roots of grounded theory and aims to analyze the consistency of the method used in grounded theory research in accounting. About 23…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper revisits the intellectual roots of grounded theory and aims to analyze the consistency of the method used in grounded theory research in accounting. About 23 papers are identified and analysed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an analytical review of the research literature. It uses four fundamental canons of grounded theory to analyze accounting research.

Findings

Some accounting researchers who have used the label “grounded theory” for their research have misunderstood or not applied the core canons of grounded theory established by Glaser and Strauss and developed with diversity in other disciplines. Most claim to follow the specific approach of Strauss and Corbin, but the published research shows limited explication of method.

Originality/value

Since Parker and Roffey in 1997, there has been no analysis and re‐evaluation of the burgeoning academic accounting literature using grounded theory. While celebrating the growth of this research, the paper does raise concerns about the lack of consistency of grounded theory research in accounting with the central canons of grounded theory, and it provides some directions for future grounded theory research by encouraging accounting researchers who wish to use grounded theory to engage more strongly in understanding the method and providing transparent explanations of their data collection and analysis methods.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Craig Michael Deegan

The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the contributions made to the social and environmental accounting literature by papers that comprised a 2002 Special Issue of

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the contributions made to the social and environmental accounting literature by papers that comprised a 2002 Special Issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ) entitled social and environmental reporting and its role in maintaining or creating organisational legitimacy. This paper will also provide insights into the origins of legitimacy theory as used in the social and environmental accounting literature as well as providing reflections about the strengths, and shortcomings, of the theory. Suggestions are made with respect to the ongoing application, and development, of legitimacy theory.

Design/methodology/approach

As a commentary, this paper utilises a review of the social and environmental accounting and institutional literature across a number of decades to reveal insights about the development and use of legitimacy theory as a basis to explain social and environmental reporting practices. Citation data are also used to indicate the potential impact that the papers in the 2002 Special Issue had upon subsequent research.

Findings

This commentary shows that the 2002 Special Issue is the most highly cited issue in the history of AAAJ. It also shows that individually, some of the papers in the Special Issue represent some of the most highly cited papers in the social and environmental accounting literature. The commentary provides arguments to suggest that the development of legitimacy theory is in need of further refinement, and suggests a way in which this refinement might take place.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is largely based on the opinions of one researcher, and the evidence presented in the paper is selected on the basis that it is deemed sufficient to support the opinions being projected. The paper also relies on citation data as an indicator of “impact”. The implication of the research is that it identifies a “way forward” for the development of theory applicable to the understanding of organisational social and environmental reporting practices.

Originality/value

The study provides evidence to show that the 2002 Special Issue was significant within the context of AAAJ, and also within the context of the evolution of the social and environmental accounting literature. The description of the history of the development of legitimacy theory, and of the theory’s subsequent application, provides a solid impetus for future refinements to the theory.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Mohamed A. Omran and Ahmed M. El-Galfy

The purpose of this paper is to provide an extensive and critical overview of the theoretical perspectives used in the accounting disclosure literature including economic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an extensive and critical overview of the theoretical perspectives used in the accounting disclosure literature including economic theories, political and social theories.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews and discusses in details the positive accounting theory (PAT), agency theory, signalling theory, political economy theory (PET), stakeholder theory, legitimacy theory and contingency theory to identify the situations suit each of these perspectives.

Findings

The main finding shows that there is no universal theory applicable for all situations or societies. For example, PAT is probably used when a corporation believes that its primary responsibility is to use its resources and engage in activities designed to maximise its profits. On the other hand, the PET seems to better explain why some corporations appear to respond to government or public pressure for information about their social impact. The agency theory provides the required framework to evaluate accounting choices and disclosure decisions in market-based studies. While the legitimacy theory seems to be more suitable for multinational corporations working in developed/democratic countries, the stakeholder theory seems to be most suitable for multinational corporations working in developing/dictator countries; whereas a corporation can manage its stakeholders. The contingency theory supports our main finding that different theories are required for different situations, as it clearly indicates that management's preferences of reporting practices are related to the nature of environmental and organisational constraints rather than their relative income effects.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the limited body of literature concerning the accounting disclosure theories and to identify the main theoretical perspective that can be used in the accounting disclosure research.

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