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A comment on "Towards a paradigmatic foundation for accounting practice"

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the paper entitled "Towards a paradigmatic foundation for accounting practice" by Nørreklit, Nørreklit and Mitchell as a way to open a debate about whether a "paradigm of accounting practice" exists and, if so, the nature of the methodological approach that would be needed to discover its nature. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper employs a critical, reflective discursive analysis. Findings ‐ The main finding is that there is a confusion in the paper by Nørreklit et al. about the nature of a "paradigm of accounting practice", which, if it exists, should be a "skeletal theory" (Laughlin), rather than a methodology. The conclusion of the commentary is that a "paradigm of accounting practice", using this understanding, might exist, but that Nørreklit et al.'s argument for the use of "pragmatic constructivism", as a methodology for its discovery, is open to question. Research limitations/implications ‐ The implication of the argument of this commentary is that the search for "paradigm of accounting practice" is important and should be pursued but the choice of an appropriate methodology for this discovery still needs further consideration. Originality/value ‐ Nørreklit et al., and this commentary, re-energise an important debate and concern about paradigms in accounting that was present in the literature in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The search for a "paradigm of accounting practice" and how best it can be discovered is an important consideration for the future development of accounting thought.

Keywords: Accounting information; Accounting procedures; Research methods

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-08-03

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