Discuss about the Social and Environmental Accounting Research.
The primary aim of this study is to critically analyze the research article prepared by Paul V. Dunmore on the topic of “Half a Defence of Positive Accounting Research”. This particular article is focused on the research on positive accounting. The primary argument made by Paul V. Dunmore in the article is that the positive accounting theory is a broader concept than just a particular theory of accounting. The analysis of the article is focused on identifying whether the main argument of the author has clear significance in this current situation or not. At the same time, identifying the limitations of the article is another goal of this study.
Summary of the article
As stated above, in the article is focused on the positive accounting. During this research, the author has indicated that positive theory of accounting and positive researches are different from each other (Chiapello 2016). The author has argued that in today’s context, most of the accounting researches are not positive accounting research. According to the author of the article, a research can be considered as the positive research, when it is done through proper observation and testing the theories (Dunmore 2011). However, in current accounting researches, most of the time researchers avoid observations and theory testing, which is the main reason behind the falsification of accounting researches.
In order to clear out the meaning of positive research, the author has described the concept of normal science stated by Kuhn (Dunmore 2011). At the same time, the author has also described the positive accounting research as an intellectual project, which is based on science that suggests identifying the cause-effect relationships between the research variables (Gow, Larcker and Reiss 2016). Therefore, it can be said that in this article, the author has tried to clear out the concept of positive accounting and positive research through proper justification. However, the theories analyzed and described in this research article have helped in understanding the differences between the current positive accounting research and actual positive accounting researches (Ball 2015). The theories have cleared out the problem areas in the current accounting researches. Moreover, the theories in the research have also cleared out the knowledge about the scientific epistemology and ontology (Dunmore 2011).
In this research article, the author has set mainly four hypotheses on the basis of the literature of the study. In these hypotheses, the author has assumed that there is a world, which is beyond the reach of human beings and so the human beings can understand the events in that world by observing the same (Dunmore 2011). The four hypotheses in this article are based on the literature of positive theory or positive research. The hypotheses are focused on observation during the positive research, which has also been identified in the literature review of the study (Granlund and Lukka 2016). These four hypotheses have provided the author the scope and direction to research on the subject of positive research on accounting. Moreover, the hypotheses of the article have also influenced the author to research on the loopholes in the current positive accounting research practices (Tucker, Parker and Merchant 2016).
On the other side, as the hypotheses in the research article has emphasized on the observation, the researcher has also influenced towards the identification of importance of proper observation during research (Mora and Walker 2015). Noticing the hypotheses of the research article, it can be easily understood that each of the research hypothesis is derived from the literature or the theoretical framework of the study (Everett et al. 2015). In the literature study or the theoretical framework, the article has identified the actual concept of positive research and scientific ontology and epistemology, on the basis of which, the hypotheses of the study are developed, so that the existing theories can be tested properly (Barth 2015). At the same time, the theoretical knowledge or concept on scientific ontology and epistemology has influenced the researcher or the author setting the hypotheses that influence to focus on the reality or real observation of the human behavior (Halliwell 2015). Therefore, it can be said that the theoretical framework or the literature of the article has stated about the concepts on positive research and scientific ontology and epistemology, from which the research set the hypotheses for getting better knowledge on the research subject area.
The theoretical framework of this research article has started with the discussion and evaluation of the positive accounting theory. The research has mainly focused on the agency theory in the area of accounting (Dunmore 2011). During the review of the literature, the author has identified that in a business organization, the relationship between the principal and the agent is high dependent on the proper observation. The principal or the shareholders and investors of an organization observe the performance of the agents or the management and employees before taking any decision (Leone, Minutti-Meza and Wasley 2015). On the other side, the management or the agent observes the decisions or the steps taken by the principles in order to understand the future of the organization. Therefore, the relationship between the two parties that are agent and principal is based on proper observation (Granlund and Lukka 2016). Therefore, research on the organizations or accounting research in the organization must be done through proper observation, which is also suggested by the positive research concept.
On the other side, while discussing on the concept of positive accounting research, the author has identified that positive accounting research and positive researches are different (Dunmore 2011). The literature in the study has advised that in a positive research, there must be rational investigation or enquiry. However, in the early days or in the current era also the researchers avoid rational investigation (Gow, Larcker and Reiss 2016). In the past days, the people used to consider each event in the world happens due to the influence of any unworldly power like, God or Spirit (Dunmore 2011). The people used to believe this because they never observed the actual or real things and they did not even analyzed or tested the old theories. The same thing also takes place in today’s context. In the literature framework, the article has identified some of the examples of positive theory, like, stakeholder theory and legitimacy theory (Dunmore 2011). However, it has also been identified that the positive theory of accounting is focused on the relationship between the people who use the resources of the organization (Leone, Minutti-Meza and Wasley 2015). Moreover, the literature study has indicated that most of the researches that are known as the positive researches are biased.
The concept of positive accounting research in the literature or theoretical framework of the study has clearly mentioned that positive accounting research means the research on the human behavior within the accounting setting (Dunmore 2011). At the same time, the literature review of the article has also identified that positive research can be done qualitatively. Many people in the field of research believe that the positive research can only be done in quantitative manner (Gow, Larcker and Reiss 2016). However, the literature has shown that there are many areas of science that are related to the positive research are qualitative in nature, for example, the positive research on geology, botany and zoology. Moreover, the literature has also cleared out that positive research and the quantitative researches are not same (Dunmore 2011).
While identifying the reasons behind the biasness in the positive accounting research, the literature of the article has indicated several reasons. One of the most vital reasons is the weak hypotheses testing. The author has identified that in most of the accounting researches, the hypotheses testing is done in quantitative manner and at the same time, there are some error in the measurement in the research (Everett et al. 2015). Moreover, the procedure of positive accounting research is also not followed properly in the existing positive accounting research. The procedure must be start with the development of preliminary ideas through careful observation, after that the next step is development of testable hypotheses and lastly testing the existing theories (Leone, Minutti-Meza and Wasley 2015). The concepts of scientific epistemology and ontology have clearly indicated that every positive research and positive accounting research must be done on the basis of the reality.
Therefore, from the above discussion, it can be said that the theoretical framework of this article is much clear and provides the clear view of the concepts of positive research and positive accounting research. At the same time, the review of the literature has also cleared about the biasness in the current and past positive accounting researches. Moreover, the author has clarified that positive accounting research is not like a theory.
The significance and limitations of the article
This particular article is very important in the current field of research. In this article, the researcher or the author has clearly mentioned the meaning of positive research. This helps understanding the problems in the previous researches so that the researches in the future days the positive accounting researches can be done properly (Granlund and Lukka 2016). Apart from that, the article has also cleared out the way through which the people or the researchers can test the existing theories so that the purpose of the research can be achieved properly.
However, the main limitation of this study is in the methodology of the research. The research in this article is done based on the exploratory research design. Exploratory research design is very critical to implement. On the other side, exploratory research design requires much quantitative data in order to analyze and test the theories (Tucker, Parker and Merchant 2016). However, the researcher has not utilized enough quantitative data and information in order to test the theories and hypotheses. It could have been a proper research if the research could include the quantitative analysis along with the qualitative analysis (Everett et al. 2015). Another limitation of the study is that the study is solely dependent on the qualitative research, which means the chances of biasness are high in this research. Moreover, the research has lack of proper evidences to support the argument in the study.
However, the conclusion of the study has been identified with the help of detailed observation and measurement of the theories. The author of this research article has also tested the theories and the hypotheses through proper observation, which indicates that the conclusion of the study has been justified by the methodology of it (Halliwell 2015). Though the researcher could have done the study more easily if the descriptive research design along with the positivism theory is followed. Therefore, it can be said that though the research article has cleared out the concept of positive accounting research, there are some limitations, which have reduced utility of the research.
In this critical review of the research article, it has been seen that the research article is very helpful in understanding the actual meaning of positive research. At the same time, the study or the research has also indicated clearly the difference between the positive research and the positive accounting research. The author of this article has mentioned that the agency theory of accounting has been derived through the positivism or positive accounting research. At the same time, in the critical review, it has been identified that the positive accounting research actually indicates the behavior of the human beings in a particular accounting setting.
The critical review has indicated that the article has identified properly the reasons behind the biasness in the positive accounting research. The positive accounting researches in the past days were not developed through proper observation and theory testing, which are the main reasons behind the biasness in the research. At the same time, avoiding the qualitative research in positive accounting researches is another reason behind the biasness. However, in the critical review, it has also been identified that the article has some limitations due to the use of exploratory research methodology because this method is much critical.
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