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What is accounting? The “being” and “be-ings” of the accounting phenomenon and its critical appreciation

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to reflect a critical perspective drawing from phenomenology, especially informed by a reading of Heidegger, to enhance and extend appreciation of the need to question accounting’s meaning or delineation and how research might be undertaken into the accounting phenomenon and related areas.

Design/methodology/approach
To illustrate and clarify argumentation in terms of accounting mobilization and the domain of accounting research, the mainstream and strongly positivistic accounting perspective adopted in the USA is critically assessed. At the same time, the authors elaborate how much of interpretive research (including much of that labeled critical) is also lacking in terms of the perspective articulated here.

Findings
The paper stresses the case for questioning the taken-for-granted and conventional. It promotes reflexivity, cautious pragmatism, attentiveness to the value of the existing, responsibility to difference and otherness and openness to new possibilities as part of a deeper critical orientation.

Originality/value
The paper draws from phenomenology, especially in Heideggerian terms to open-up new conversational domain to debate accounting.

Citation

(2019). What is accounting? The “being” and “be-ings” of the accounting phenomenon and its critical appreciation. Accounting, auditing, & accountability, 1414-1436. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2017-3097

Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2019
Publication Date Jun 17, 2019
Journal Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Print ISSN 0951-3574
Publisher Emerald
Pages 1414-1436
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2017-3097
Keywords accounting, phenomenology, Heidegger, being, intentionality, Aletheia
Publisher URL http://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2017-3097

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