Author-Iterative Interpretation in Understanding Accounting Practice Through Case Research

Posted: 23 Aug 2011

See all articles by Ivo De Loo

Ivo De Loo

Nyenrode Business University

Alan Lowe

School of Accounting; Aston University - Aston Business School - Finance and Accounting Group

Date Written: August 23, 2011

Abstract

The way interviews are used in accounting research, and the way this research is written up, suggests that there is only one way to interpret these interviews. This invests the author(s) with great perceptive power and storytelling ability. What if different assumptions are used about how to interpret research, and how to present the ensuing findings? We give an illustration of what this might imply, using the notion of 'reflexivity'. The setting for our illustration concerns a series of interviews with management accountants on the dilemmas they face in their daily work. We apply Alvesson’s ideas on how to use metaphors to open up the interpretation of interview accounts. The aim of the paper is to shed a different light on the way interviews can be used and interpreted in accounting research. We assert that allowing for reflexive accounts is likely to require substantially differently written research papers, in which the process of discovery is emphasized.

Keywords: case research, interpretation, reflexivity, interviews, metaphors

JEL Classification: M4

Suggested Citation

De Loo, Ivo and Lowe, Alan, Author-Iterative Interpretation in Understanding Accounting Practice Through Case Research (August 23, 2011). Management Accounting Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1915072

Ivo De Loo (Contact Author)

Nyenrode Business University ( email )

Straatweg 25
P.O. Box 130
Breukelen, 3620 AC
Netherlands

Alan Lowe

School of Accounting ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Aston University - Aston Business School - Finance and Accounting Group ( email )

Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B47ET
United Kingdom

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