administrative problems and more recently promoted as an instrument central to

Administrative problems and more recently promoted as

This preview shows page 136 - 139 out of 354 pages.

administrative problems and, more recently, promoted as an instrument central to reforms of public sector financial management may lead us to a clearer understanding not only of the factors that might explain how accounting becomes almost taken for granted in certain contexts and at particular moments, but also of the process at work today in how we justify and react to accounting, as well as of the strategies adopted to expand accounting and its influence. Theoretical models intended to help us understand the present may be tested effectively on past situations and events. Just as comparative international accounting identifies the contingencies that shape different accounting systems across space, so can historical studies illuminate these and other contingenc ies across time.” With respect to public policy histories in an accounting context, Previts, Parker and Coffman (1990, p. 5) emphasise that: “historical studies provide a perspective to assist policy makers’ understanding of the interrelationships between policy decisions and political or economic outcomes”
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123 and “historical studies of professional and governmental accounting/auditing policy pronouncements assist in the formulation of policy and its likely impact on accounting practice” (Previts et al. 1990, p. 7). Despite the potential contributions of historic research, there is a dearth of research on the origins of public sector accounting change (Christensen 2002; Guthrie 1994; Ryan 1995). There is a similar gap in accounting agenda setting histories, especially in a public sector context (refer to Chapters 2 and 3). Traditional accounting history research has focused on the mechanical or procedural techniques of accounting (Cooper and Puxty 1996), neglecting the institutional context (Christensen 2002; Funnell 1998; Ryan 1995). In the mid-1990s, accounting historians (such as Carnegie and Napier 1996; Fleischman, Mill and Tyson 1996; Hammond 2003; Hammond and Sikka 1996; Hines) addressed this limitation by including social, economic and organisational aspects. This is where the contribution of oral histories, becomes apparent. The methodological approach to historic research in a specific area is referred to as historiography. Accounting historiography therefore “involves a study of how and why accounting has been written about as an object of historical study, how historical writings on accounting have developed, and the main topics and themes of accounting history” (Napier 2008, p. 30). It has been argued that there is no such thing as historical objectivity (Carnegie and Napier 1996; Cooper and Puxty 1996; Fleischman et al. 1996). Fleischman et al. (1996) discussed the theoretical foundations for conducting and evaluating the interpretation of historical data. They criticised positivist approaches to historic research and argue that critical or interpretive approaches are more promising. They argued that to ensure that historical research in accounting can make a valid contribution, it must address potential
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124 bias through the use of theoretical frameworks and the inherent epistemological assumptions (Fleischman et al. 1996).
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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