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Towards a Paradigmitic Foundation for accounting Practice

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-758
Number of pages26
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability
StatePublished - 2010


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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