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Tracing the American Concept of Stewardship to English Antecedents

14 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008  

Francine J. Lipman

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law

James E. Williamson

San Diego State University - College of Business Administration

Abstract

The contemporary American concept of stewardship has been criticized for failing to meet the needs of modern society. Critics say that the concept of stewardship is missing or dead in America. This paper proposes that before we speculate on the demise of stewardship in the not too distant future we consider its historical evolution. This paper uses a cross-national approach to trace the concept of stewardship within its socihistorical context from 13th century England to the modern American corporation. By identifying how stewardship has evolved differently in America than it did in England, the authors conclude that stewardship is alive and viable in America in its own unique form. Questions regarding whether the American concept of stewardship can survive in this form or how it might evolve in the future are left to future research. However, since accounting is stewardship driven researchers looking for a coherent legal/accounting theory of stewardship may find that evolutionary changes in the social and legal concepts of stewardship subsequently lead to changes in accounting theory and procedure.

Keywords: stewardship, corporate goverance, accounting theory, accounting procedures, accounting history

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49, N13

Suggested Citation

Lipman, Francine J. and Williamson, James E., Tracing the American Concept of Stewardship to English Antecedents. British Accounting Review, Vol. 23, No. 355, 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1135865

Francine Lipman (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

James Williamson

San Diego State University - College of Business Administration ( email )

School of Accountancy
San Diego, CA 92182-8230
United States
619-594-6021 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sdsu.edu

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