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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2019

Jane Baxter and Wai Fong Chua

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Modell’s arguments regarding the relative usefulness of critical realist philosophy in relation to actor-network theory.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Modell’s arguments regarding the relative usefulness of critical realist philosophy in relation to actor-network theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors outline the challenges in applying critical realism to critical accounting. The authors then consider Modell’s criticisms of actor-network theory, providing a counterargument highlighting the methodological choices distinguishing actor-network theory from critical realism.

Findings

The authors argue that critical realism, whilst providing an interesting addition to the critical accounting research project, confronts challenges disentangling intransitive and transitive forms of knowledge. Actor-network theory is presented as a way of examining accounting practices as local associations, providing practical opportunities to study (the assembly of) “the social”.

Research limitations/implications

Methodological diversity is to be explored, acknowledging the ontological politics of our choices.

Originality/value

This paper is an original commentary contributing to critical accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2019

Jane Baxter, Martin Carlsson-Wall, Wai Fong Chua and Kalle Kraus

The purpose of this paper is to extend the understanding of “the” accounting entity, demonstrating how it is a contestable socio-political construction informed by a nexus…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the understanding of “the” accounting entity, demonstrating how it is a contestable socio-political construction informed by a nexus of market, state and community actors.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study method is utilised to follow debate relating to Swedish football clubs’ responsibility for the payment/non-payment of policing costs between 1999 and 2014. The case study uses documentary and interview data, focusing on one of the high-risk Stockholm clubs.

Findings

The paper makes four main contributions: first, demonstrating how the accounting entity is a changeable and contestable construction; second, outlining how distinctions informing contests about the accounting arena are materialised through accounting calculations and other devices; third, showing the importance of community in a coordinated sense in mediating accounting practices; and fourth, contributing to the literature on accounting and sport, highlighting the importance of state actors in this arena.

Originality/value

This research draws on original empirical data providing unique insights into debates regarding the responsibility for the payment of police costs in the context of sports-related violence. The authors show the importance of characterising accounting for sporting organisations as a shifting and contestable nexus of market, state and community actors.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Wai Fong Chua, Maria Cadiz Dyball and Helen Yee

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the impact of the 1999 Special Issue on Professionalization in Asia in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the impact of the 1999 Special Issue on Professionalization in Asia in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ); and second, more generally to review research on this topic post-1999.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper starts with a discussion of the research articles of the Special Issue. It then identifies research that has cited papers in the Special Issue and which focusses on professionalization in Asia to identify relevant subsequent research. In addition, a literature search is conducted to locate post-1999 work that has not cited papers from the Special Issue but has investigated the same topic area. Analyzing both sets of work enables an integrated review of the field and aids the identification of future research opportunities. The study covers published research articles and books on professionalization projects in Asia from 1999 to 2018. In this paper, reference to Asia focusses on East Asia (including countries such as China and Japan), South Asia (including countries such as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka), and South East Asia (including countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam). Given the elapsed time of near 20 years, there has been sufficient time for research to be published. Therefore, the review focusses on published output only and does not discuss unpublished theses, conference proceedings nor working papers.

Findings

First, the Special Issue of AAAJ in 1999 generally adopted a critical lens and studied professionalization as projects of market closure and collective mobility. The corporatist framework of Puxty et al. (1987) provided a useful framing to analyze the influence of states, markets and communities on professionalization. Second, the Special Issue has helped to spur interest in understanding professionalization in the region. Post-1999, there are studies of countries not covered in the Special Issue. Third, the themes identified in the Special Issue continue to be relevant and are examined in post-1999 work: the active role of the state, the legacies of colonization, the activities of transnational accounting bodies; and to a lesser degree, the influence of transnational accounting firms. Finally, future research could usefully focus on: the distinctive and more expansive role of Asian state agencies; the conduct of deeper comparative research; the role of accounting firms in the region; and the impact of transnational agencies such as the International Federation of Accountants and the World Bank.

Research limitations/implications

There are three limitations. First, the review of literature omits unpublished research such as PhD theses and working papers. Second, it focusses only on research published in English. As a result, some work may be excluded. Third, it assesses the contribution of a single issue (i.e. the 1999 AAAJ Special Issue) and does not discuss work that preceded 1999.

Originality/value

This paper is aimed at assessing the impact of the 1999 Special Issue but also presents a wide-ranging analytical review of published research on accounting professionalization in Asia since 1999. The paper identifies several areas for future research and proposes a modified model of state-market-community-profession relations. In particular, the paper emphasizes the large and distinctive roles of Asian state agencies and the activities of transnational actors (both those within the profession as well as those that are external).

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Wai Fong Chua and Jane Baxter

In this essay we consider the future of management accounting in the new millennium. We draw on the themes of postindustrialism to highlight the major discontinuities…

Abstract

In this essay we consider the future of management accounting in the new millennium. We draw on the themes of postindustrialism to highlight the major discontinuities emerging in management accounting work. In particular, these discontinuities are discussed in the context of the following themes: the recession of the real; the rise of rival voices; the cyber‐centred democracy; risk, trust and time‐space; and the erosion of the bi‐polar. We argue that management accounting will emerge as a paradoxical form of practice in the 21st century — management accounting work will continue, but it may not be undertaken by professionals bearing the management accounting brand; reports will be produced for managing, but these reports will have an increasingly diverse authorship; financial representation will remain central to the internal reporting process, but there will be a growing need to represent activities and outcomes that do not have a material referent; management accounting will enter the ‘business’ of building trust, whilst enabling new forms of risk to emerge in more complex organisational and inter‐organisational relationships. We conclude by arguing that postindustrialism creates significant opportunities for researchers in the 21st century.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 11 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1988

Wai Fong Chua

Management accounting researchers have borrowed eclectically from interpretive sociology. Such borrowing has been associated with ethnographic studies of accounting in…

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Abstract

Management accounting researchers have borrowed eclectically from interpretive sociology. Such borrowing has been associated with ethnographic studies of accounting in action in particular organisational contexts. However, the eclectic nature of the borrowing has also resulted in little theory development and inconsistent arguments. Deeper theoretical and empirical analysis is required in order that testable, “universal” relationships about management accounting processes may be developed and investigated in the future.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2014

Richard Laughlin

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5…

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781

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5 March 2014. It celebrates Tony Lowe’s considerable direct contributions to accounting knowledge and, possibly more significantly, his indirect contribution through his enabling of a range of those associated with him at Sheffield to become scholars of distinction in their own right.

Design/methodology/approach

Publication review, personal reflections and argument.

Findings

Apart from providing insight into Tony Lowe's direct contribution to accounting knowledge through an analysis of a range of significant sole authored and joint authored publications, the paper gives rather more attention to his more indirect enabling contribution. In this regard it traces the development of initially the Management Control Association and subsequently the “Sheffield School” to Tony Lowe, clarifying the values that underlie these groups. It also clarifies how some of the key elements that have allowed the now global Interdisciplinary and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (ICPA) Project to exist and flourish are traceable to Tony Lowe and the “Sheffield School” he created.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides an important historical analysis of the direct and indirect influence of a unique scholar on the beginnings and development of particularly the now global ICPA Project. This history is personal and maybe selective and possibly limited because of this but hopefully will encourage others to investigate the claims further.

Originality/value

The history of the ICPA Project has only partially been told before. This is another part of this history that has not been analysed before on which further work can build.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2001

Wai Fong Chua, Cameron Hooper and Bobby Wai Yeong Mak

Much managerial and behavioural accounting research assumes that people are rational, self‐interested, expected‐utility maximisers. Often, this reduces to the central…

Abstract

Much managerial and behavioural accounting research assumes that people are rational, self‐interested, expected‐utility maximisers. Often, this reduces to the central expectation that individuals are concerned only with their own material self‐interest and are unconcerned with the welfare of others. Here, we consider a preference for achieving fair outcomes in the context of an interdivisional cost and benefit allocation scenario. Consistent with prior research, we reject a simple wealth maximisation hypothesis and find that subjects actively attempt to achieve fair allocations. Interestingly, subjects were willing to adversely affect the outcome of one party to the transaction when they considered themselves to have been treated unfairly by a third party against whom they had no redress. Also, where subjects expected to have their wealth reduced by another party, who freely chose not to do so, these subjects appeared willing to give a lower share of a future windfall gain to them.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Jane Baxter and Wai Fong Chua

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the literary authority of qualitative management accounting field research (QMAFR) and its interconnectedness with the scientific…

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2358

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the literary authority of qualitative management accounting field research (QMAFR) and its interconnectedness with the scientific authority of this form of research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a non‐positivist perspective on the writing/authoring of QMAFR. The paper illustrates its arguments by analysing how the field is written/authored in two well‐known examples of qualitative management accounting research, using Golden‐Biddle and Locke's framework as a way of initiating an understanding of how field research attains its “convincingness”.

Findings

The paper finds that these two examples of QMAFR attain their convincingness by authoring a strong sense of authenticity and plausibility, adopting writing strategies that signal the authority of the researcher and their figuration of the “facts”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues for a more aesthetically informed consideration of the “goodness” of non‐positivist QMAFR, arguing that its scientific and aesthetic forms of authority are ultimately intertwined.

Practical implications

This paper has practical implications for informing the ways in which QMAFR is read and written, arguing for greater experimentation in terms of its narration.

Originality/value

The value of this paper lies in its recognition of the authorial and aesthetic nature of QMAFR, as well as it potential to encourage debate, reflection and changed practices within the community of scholars interested in this form of research.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1994

Wai Fong Chua and Alistair Preston

Aims to promote concern and debate about the penetration of accountingand financial management in the health care sectors of severalAnglo‐Saxon countries – the United…

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2687

Abstract

Aims to promote concern and debate about the penetration of accounting and financial management in the health care sectors of several Anglo‐Saxon countries – the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. Questions may be raised in several ways. For example, by highlighting how accounting concepts such as “costs” are not neutral notions but rather are sites for struggles of divergent interests or by commenting on how accounting may change or be changed by different organizational and societal rationalities. Concern may also be raised by questioning the effects of accounting change in terms wider than the purely instrumental and thereby arguing that its global spread is grounded more in faith than “factual” evidence regarding its efficacy.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Maria Cadiz Dyball, Wai Fong Chua and Chris Poullaos

The aim of the paper is to argue that accounting practices in colonial systems of government can help to construct the identity and “competency” of colonised communities.

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3292

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the paper is to argue that accounting practices in colonial systems of government can help to construct the identity and “competency” of colonised communities.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach was a historical analysis of the colonial political and economic policies of the USA in the Philippines from 1898 to 1924. The role of accounting practices was demonstrated by focusing on the case of the Philippine National Bank from 1916 to 1924. The bank was created by a wholly‐Filipino Legislature when Americans were actively promoting “home rule” by the Filipinos as a prelude to independence. Using Weber's theoretical distinction between modern and traditional societies, primary documents on the bank and secondary references of the policies of the USA during the period of study were examined.

Findings

It was found that the Americans used controls over government moneys to express their modernity, efficiency and goodness, while the Filipinos resisted them to perpetuate traditional social arrangements in the context of a “modern” Philippine state. The controls “failed” under the stress of such tensions. The Americans concluded that the Filipinos were unable to manage government moneys “properly”, thus denying them their independence.

Research limitations/implications

Weber's theorization of traditional and modern societies should be applied to understand interactions between coloniser and colonised in cases other than the Philippines.

Originality/value

This paper will be valuable to academics and policy makers because it shows that accounting need not be an active agent by colonisers/administrators to appropriate spoils from its colony.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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