Domain theory and method theory
in management accounting
Kari Lukka and Eija Vinnari
Department of Accounting and Finance, Turku School of Economics,
University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to distinguish two roles of theories, domain theory and
method theory, and examine their relationships in management accounting research. Are these two
roles explicitly distinguished in management accounting studies? Can this be achieved in an
unambiguous manner?Where do ambitions for theoretical contribution lie in management accounting
studies that employ method theories?
Design/methodology/approach – The authors develop a conceptual framework for analysing
possible relationships between domain theories and method theories in studies and illustrate the
theoretical arguments with examples from management accounting studies employing Actor-Network
Theory (ANT) as their method theory.
Findings – There can be various types of relationships between domain theories and method theories,
and the theoretical ambition of the analysed studies typically focused on domain theories. However,
ambiguity can exist with regard to the location of a study’s theoretical ambition. Both domain theories
and method theories tend to be moving fields, and their interaction can add to this feature.
Research limitations/implications – The suggested conceptual clarification assists in the
reconciliation of extreme perspectives that relate to management accounting and theory. It will also
help researchers to systematically design their own work and evaluate that of others. An increased
understanding of how a field develops as a result of interaction with method theories might perhaps
alleviate concerns regarding the value of mobilizing the latter.
Originality/value – The analysis contributes to the on-going debate on the value and effects of
employing method theories, or theoretical lenses, in management accounting research.
Keywords Management accounting, Actor-Network Theory, Domain theory, Method theory
Paper type Conceptual paper
Social reporting by Islamic banks:
does social justice matter?
School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh, UK, and
Hussain G. Rammal
International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia,
Purpose – This study examines social reporting by Islamic banks with special emphasis on themes
related to social justice. By using critical theory and “immanent critique”, the study attempts to
explain and delineate reasons for disclosures and silences in Islamic banks’ annual reports and web
sites vis-a` -vis social justice.
Design/methodology/approach – The approach taken was a content analysis of annual reports
and web sites of 19 Islamic banks.
Findings – Islamic banks’ disclosures emphasise their religious character through claims that they
adhere to Sharia’s teachings. Their disclosures, however, lack specific or detailed information
regarding schemes or initiatives vis-a` -vis poverty eradication or enhancing social justice.
Research limitations/implications – Limitations associated with content analysis of annual
reports and internet web sites apply. This study focuses on Islamic banks’ social roles. Further studies
of banks’ social roles in society in general are of interest.
Practical implications – Drawing attention of Islamic banks and other stakeholders to the gap
between the rhetorical religious and ethical claims of Islamic banks and their activities (as depicted
through their disclosures) opens up the possibility of a positive change in Islamic banks’ actual social
Originality/value – The study fills a gap in both social accounting and Islamic accounting
literatures with its emphasis on social justice and poverty eradication. The study contributes to the
very scarce literature linking religion (especially Islam), critical theory, social accounting and Islamic
accounting. It goes beyond previous research in Islamic accounting literature by exposing
contradictions in the Islamic banking industry’s rhetoric regarding their social role in society.
Keywords Islam, Banks, Accounting, Finance, Social justice, Islamic banks,
Islamic accounting and reporting, Poverty eradication, Immanent critique, Content analysis
Paper type Research paper
Integrated Reporting and internal
mechanisms of change
School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University,
Melbourne, Australia, and
Deakin Graduate School of Business, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal mechanisms employed by early
adopters of integrated reporting in Australia to manage their reporting process and explores whether
integrated reporting is stimulating innovative disclosure mechanisms.
Design/methodology/approach – The study was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews
with organisations in varying stages of implementing integrated reporting. In total, 23 interviews were
conducted with sustainability managers, finance managers and communications managers across
۱۵ organisations. A content analysis of the interviews was undertaken using qualitative coding
Findings – While the organisations that are producing some form of integrated report are changing
their processes and structures, or at least talking about it, their adoption of integrated reporting
has not necessarily stimulated new innovations in disclosure mechanisms. This study did not uncover
radical, transformative change to reporting processes, but rather incremental changes to processes
and structures that previously supported sustainability reporting.
Research limitations/implications – A major limitation of this research study was the small
sample of organisations and stakeholders that participated, and the single-country focus. Finance,
accounting and strategy people were particularly under-represented in this study, as well as external
stakeholders, and the conclusions can only be tentative until further tested.
Practical implications – This paper sheds light on the practices of early adopters of integrated
reporting, and their learning could inform other organisations considering an integrated reporting
Originality/value – As an emerging phenomenon, there are few empirical studies exploring
integrated reporting practices and this paper provides some insights into integrated reporting in
Keywords Organisational change, Disclosure, Sustainability reporting, Integrated reporting
Paper type Research paper
Lobbying on the integrated
An analysis of comment letters to the
۲۰۱۱ discussion paper of the IIRC
Marek Reuter and Martin Messner
Department of Organisation and Learning, University of Innsbruck,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine formal participation in the early phase of the
International Integrated Reporting Council’s (IIRC’s) standard-setting. The objective of the paper is to
shed light on the characteristics of lobbying parties and the determinants of their lobbying behavior
toward the IIRC. Additionally, the most important points of contestation regarding the IIRC’s initial
proposal for integrated reporting are identified and discussed.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors analyze comment letters issued toward the IIRC’s
۲۰۱۱ discussion paper on the basis of a content analysis. The analysis is guided mainly by Sutton’s
(۱۹۸۴) rational-choice model of lobbying and by findings from extant financial accounting lobbying
research. The analysis of the data is both quantitative and qualitative.
Findings – The paper improves the understanding of the political nature of standard-setting in the
context of integrated reporting. Among other things, the authors find that comment letters toward
the IIRC’s discussion paper are mainly written by large multinational firms (as opposed to small- and
medium-sized ones) and by preparers (as opposed to users). The authors also observe active lobbying
by sustainability service firms and professional bodies which tend to take a critical position
vis-à-vis the discussion paper’s emphasis on investor needs and shareholder value creation. Moreover,
the qualitative analysis reveals that respondents voice different concerns regarding, for instance,
the scope of audience of integrated reporting, issues of materiality and the relationship between
integrated reporting and other existing reporting frameworks.
Research limitations/implications – The analysis is limited to a consideration of the 2011
discussion paper of the IIRC. The IIRC’s more recent and forthcoming proposals will likely provide a
basis to extend the paper’s findings and allow investigation of the role of lobbying for the further
development of the framework.
Originality/value – The paper is, to the best of the knowledge, the first one to explore lobbying
behavior by means of comment letters in the context of integrated reporting.
Keywords Lobbying, Integrated reporting, IIRC, Comment letters
Paper type Research paper
and tax fraud
William E. Shafer, Richard S. Simmons and Rita W.Y. Yip
Accountancy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to document relationships between accountants’ socioeconomic
beliefs and attitudes and their professional commitment and ethical decisions in a domain-specific context.
Specifically, it investigates the relationships among Chinese tax accountants’ level of belief in the
importance of corporate ethics and social responsibility, affective/normative professional commitment and
ethical judgements/intentions in a case involving client pressure to commit tax fraud.
Design/methodology/approach – The study employs a survey of tax practitioners employed by
public accounting firms in China. The data are analyzed using linear regression and structural
Findings – The stakeholder view, representing both normative and practical support for the
importance of corporate ethics and social responsibility, was strongly and positively associated with
professional commitment among tax practitioners. The stakeholder view also exhibited a strong
negative association with intentions to engage in tax fraud. Tax accountants who possessed higher
levels of professional commitment judged tax fraud as more unethical, and such ethical judgements
were associated with a lower likelihood of intending to engage in fraud.
Originality/value – The associations between: first, professional accountants’ beliefs in the
importance of corporate ethics and social responsibility and their level of professional commitment;
and second, professional commitment and tax professionals’ ethical judgements have received
little attention in the prior literature. The findings of this study suggest that the integrity of public
accounting services may be influenced by relatively broad socioeconomic attitudes, and that this effect
may operate partially through commitment to professional values.
Keywords China, Ethical decision making, Corporate ethics and social responsibility, PRESOR,
Professional commitment, Tax fraud
Paper type Research paper