Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Still “crafty” after all these years

Back in the dying days of the 1990’s two things happened at roughly the same time, I started teaching the craft of accounting research with Professor Dan Simunic (soon to be joined by Professor Gordon Richardson) while at the same time learning about knowledge management including the differences between tacit and explicit knowledge. I quickly made the link between the two!

Explicit knowledge is what we learn in stats and methods classes as well as surveys of research in any domain. Tacit knowledge is what we try to develop in students as we teach them to critically evaluate research and help them make the first steps in original research. However most formal doctoral classes are more about explicit than tacit knowledge!

That is where the “Craft of Accounting” workshop comes in. It focuses on conveying tacit knowledge about the research discipline of accounting. We attempt to shed light on embedded practices and knowledge that one needs to learn to be a successful researcher but is hard to (and hardly ever) taught in the classroom. As the knowledge is by it very nature difficult to codify and transmit in writing it requires face time with an open mind!

Congrats to the University of Queensland doctoral students and junior faculty who participated in this year’s version of Steve’s Development of the Crafty Accounting Researcher!

Teaching positivistic field research

Last week I finished a teaching gig that focused on teaching about field research through a positivist lens! Further, it was challenging to do so at one of the top critical/interpretive/social constructionists shops in the world – Sydney University!

But the appeal of the field was small but mighty. An experimental researcher, several markets researchers, and a couple of interpretive researchers showed up for six hours of classes during the busy last week of term! While six hours can only scratch the surface of a method, it can provide pointers to relevant material for self study!

Congrats to my Sydney U students who join my University of Florida students from my last sabbatical as “graduates” of An Introduction to Positivistic Field Research in Accounting and Auditing!

Researchers and/or as administrators

As I wander around Australia and New Zealand I ponder why mid- to top- rank researchers often go into administration. Yes, there are notable exceptions, but it seems all too often we see the best researchers take on Department Chair/Head, Associate Dean, and indeed higher level positions like a Dean, vice-Provosts or deputy/vice chancellors as they call them down under.

Is it their being tired of trying to stay on the cutting edge of research? Is it their desire to build to try to build something lasting? Is it being tired of less talented people evaluating their work especially in these days of increasing performance metrification? Maybe it is the perceived returns to research, which are usually intrinsic not extrinsic, that change in value as one matures?

Whatever the reason, it happens it seems to most of us!

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