Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

Home » The case for the radical center » The Swiss – getting it right????

The Swiss – getting it right????


I recently made my first trip to Switzerland (I was in the country for five days but never saw a mountain – gives you an idea of what the weather was like).

I found it most interesting that in the German Cantons three universities have collaborated on a PhD program where each school specializes in one paradigm of accounting research but the schools share joint coursework so that student can get a well-rounded education with exposure to multiple paradigms in research.  This deals with one of the problems that most German universities have – that is – having only three Chairs in accounting (financial/audit, management and governance or tax).  Yes, I know Mannheim is an exception but that is what it is, an exception.

The underlying problem is that we can never rise to Bill Kinney’s challenge to let the question guide method selection if we only teach our students one method.  As for the claims that specialization requires only one method be learned in-depth – that suggests the focus of inquiry is the method NOT the substantive subject matter.  If we really want to be audit, financial accounting, management accounting or tax researchers, we really need the set of tools to study the discipline NOT just one size fits all.  After all, if you have young children you know one thing is certain for sure – if you give them a hammer – every problem presented is an opportunity to bang on it.  If we as parents spend time teaching our children in the real world not to solve every problem with a hammer – why do we do it to our “children” that we educate in our doctoral programs?????


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