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Towards a paradigmatic foundation for accounting practice

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework (pragmatic constructivism) for a new paradigm for accounting practice. The paradigmatic base of practice is an important element in explaining, understanding, justifying and defending practice. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper is designed to argue the case for the use of pragmatic constructivism as a basis for the development of a paradigmatic foundation of accounting practice. To achieve this, pragmatic constructivism is explained and its application to accounting is illustrated and contrasted with the traditional paradigm of realism. Findings ‐ The analysis shows how the use of a less reductionist paradigm than realism can assist accountants both in the creation of a rationale and a defence for practice. Research limitations/implications ‐ The analysis is exploratory in the sense that a new paradigmatic framework is outlined and used to illustrate its potential to develop a paradigm for practice. The creation of a full practice paradigm for accounting is beyond the scope of one paper. Hence this analysis should be viewed as only a first step towards developing a paradigm of accounting practice. Originality/value ‐ The proposal of pragmatic constructivism for this purpose is novel to the accounting literature. The value of its application lies in its potential to explain and defend accounting practice.
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Keywords: Accountancy; Accounting information; Accounting procedures; Accounting theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-03

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