Evidence and implications of multiple paradigms in accounting knowledge production

Joanne Locke, Alan D. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper uses evidence gathered in two perception studies ofAustralasian and British accounting academics to reflect on aspects of the knowledge production systemwithin accounting academe. We provide evidence of the representation of multiple paradigms in many journals that are scored by participants as being of high quality. Indeed most of the journals we surveyed are perceived by accounting academics as incorporating research from more than one paradigm. It is argued that this ‘catholic’ approach by journal editors and the willingness of many respondents in our surveys to score journals highly on material they publish from both paradigm categories reflects a balanced acceptance of the multi-paradigmatic state of accounting research. Our analysis is set within an understanding of systems of accounting knowledge production as socially constructed and as playing an important role in the distribution of power and reward in the academy. We explore the impact of our results on concerns emerging from the work of a number of authors who carefully expose localised 'elites'. The possibilities for a closer relationship between research emerging from a multi-paradigm discipline and policy setting and practice are also discussed. The analysis provides a sense of optimism that the broad constituency of accounting academics operates within an environment conducive for the exchange of ideas. That optimism is dampened by concerns about the impact of local 'elites' and the need for more research on their impact on accounting academe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-191
Number of pages31
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Australasian accounting academics
  • British accounting academics
  • knowledge production system
  • accounting academe


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