Social theorisation of accounting: challenges to positive research

Hopper, Trevor, Ashraf, Junaid, Uddin, Shahzad and Wickramasinghe, Danture (2015) Social theorisation of accounting: challenges to positive research. In: Jones, Stewart (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Financial Accounting Theory. Routledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting (17). Routledge, pp. 452-471. ISBN 978041660280

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Abstract

Trying to delineate the relevance of social theory (broadly defined as an attempt to explain and predict behaviour under certain circumstances) to accounting often provoke responses of despair. A common reaction is to state that accounting has no theory. This has foundation. Apart from those who argue that double entry book-keeping is a theory in itself (a view not shared by the authors, who see it as an equation), accounting lacks a unique theoretical basis. It is often taught and practised as techniques and systems created through trial and error and the experience and pragmatism of practitioners. However, techniques implicitly rest on theory, be it of causes and effects or an understanding of what clients want or need. Given the absence of a distinct accounting theory, one must turn to other social science disciplines to make sense of practices (Hopper and Powell, 1985; Sutton and Staw, 1995).
This invites the retort that accounting consists of practical techniques to resolve financial

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: accounting, critical theory
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5601 Accounting. Bookkeeping
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0481 Theory. Method. Relations to other subjects
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Depositing User: Trevor Hopper
Date Deposited: 15 May 2015 11:11
Last Modified: 27 May 2015 06:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54021

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