Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Imagine . . . .

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Only in Europe could this happen, Christian Leuz ( JAR Joint Editor) and myself, agreeing on the need for refocusing the discussion of the impact of research away from the unit of analysis that most accounting academics focus on – the individual peer reviewed paper. Now context is important here – it came in a discussion of research impact!

Both Christian and I independently have come to the same conclusion based on our reading of the evidence based policy (especially medicine) literature – he applying the analysis to financial accounting and I applying it to auditing! Basically the lesson we both took away and are now trying to get a discussion going on is the fact that single paper policy prescriptions in other domains have been found to, on average, do more harm then good!

We agreed, again quite independently coming to this conclusion, that institutional support and a very different scholarship of integration around knowledge transfer must be developed so as to convey to policy makers problem focused specific knowledge from our fields of research! That requires, in academic discussions of research impact as occurred at the editor’s panel an acknowledgement that impact comes from aggregating and assessing the reliability of the collective knowledge embedded in the individual papers to create a problem focused synthesis. It does not supplant the academic paper as the unit of incremental knowledge production, but it does relieve it of the burden of being able to in and of itself change the world!

Amazing, eh?


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