Accounting's Latent Classicism: Revisiting Classical Management Origins

32 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2011

See all articles by Lee D. Parker

Lee D. Parker

RMIT University

Philip A. Ritson

University of Adelaide - School of Commerce

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

The historical classical management roots of contemporary accounting are still embedded in theory and practice, but invariably unacknowledged. This paper revisits the discourses and philosophies of three leading management writers generally regarded as proponents of scientific and classical management: Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, and the longest standing advocate, Lyndall Urwick. The paper argues that traditionally Taylor has been regarded as the dominant influential figure on early management and later accounting theory, but that this reflects an inaccurate stereotyping that ignores the greater reflections in contemporary accounting of Fayol and Urwick. Their approaches to planning, control, and coordination, as well as their accounting and financial management philosophies are revisited. This examination aims to better recognize their contributions to the latent classicism that still pervades accounting thought and practice.

Keywords: Accounting, Classical management, Financial management, Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Lyndall Urwick, Scientific management

Suggested Citation

Parker, Lee D. and Ritson, Philip A., Accounting's Latent Classicism: Revisiting Classical Management Origins (June 2011). Abacus, Vol. 47, Issue 2, pp. 234-265, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1857289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6281.2011.00340.x

Lee D. Parker (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

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Philip A. Ritson

University of Adelaide - School of Commerce ( email )

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+61 8 830 34368 (Fax)

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