Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Nudging academic researchers


While the BYU boys are playing with ROAR (one of the most obvious and unhelpful research activities I have seen in recent years) what if we adapted behavioural nudges ideas from Richard Thaler ( Nobel prize winner) to the defaults in expectations for accounting research.

What if it was expected that every assistant professor going up for tenure at every research school was expected to take part in writing a research synthesis of interest to standard setters and/or professional bodies as part of the tenure expectations? Don’t laugh so hard as it is the expectation at many medical schools that their junior researchers should have been involved in one Cochrane collaborative research synthesis to show they are of high enough quality to be included in a knowledge translation research synthesis group! It is another way of highlighting you are an stablished enough scholar that colleagues value you involvement in knowledge transfer activities.

Why a synthesis focus – to get knowledge transfer activities away from the non-value added focus approach on individual papers. Papers and journal articles are the building blocks of academic knowledge and great for transfer of knowledge in the community of scholars. They are likely the worst vehicle for knowledge transfer to non academics. A synthesis focuses on questions of interest for practitioners, forces academic partnerships across methods silos all with the aim of producing comprehensive evidence (NOT the answer) for practitioners.

What if being included on a synthesis team was a new default expectation in addition to X published papers in Y set of journals. Or better yet as a valued substitute for one of those papers! This default solves in one fell swoop the issue of incentives to do synthesis work in accounting and auditing! For more on what a research synthesis is (and importantly is not) see blog post of Nov 7 or go directly to:

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