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Accounting in Churches: A Research Framework and Agenda

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Abstract:

Argues that there is a significant lacuna in the accounting literature resulting from our lack of knowledge of how and why accounting is used in churches as one form of religious organization. After reviewing the limited extant accounting literature, proposes a skeletal research framework for addressing this lacuna. Following parallel themes in the organizations studies' literature, this framework emphasizes the importance of three analytic dimensions: the centrality of religious beliefs to action in churches and a general tendency of such beliefs to act as a form of resistance to accounting; the role of organizational members and occupational groups, such as the clergy and accountants, in the construction and opposition of such processes of resistance; and the impacts of two conditions of possibility, membership size and the availability of financial resources, on the development of these relationships. Concludes with some initial suggestions for a research agenda suggested by the proposed framework, and a consideration of the potential applicability of such theorizing for our understanding of accounting as a situated practice both in other forms of religious organizations and organizations more generally.

Keywords: Accounting Firms; Accounting Research; Churches; Financial Information; Religion

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513579310045684

Publication date: April 1, 1993

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