Seeds of Innovation in Accounting Scholarship
30 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2012
Date Written: June 13, 2012
I consider three questions about innovation in current accounting scholarship. First, what is “innovation” and how do we know that the level of innovation in accounting scholarship is low? Second, if innovation in accounting scholarship is low, how did this state of affairs come to exist? Third, if accounting scholarship is low on innovation, can we actually do anything to change it? Several features of modern accounting scholarship are not conducive to scholarly innovation: (1) “careerism” among accounting scholars that promotes conformist thinking, (2) low tolerance for outcome risk that leads scholars to eschew fundamental questions, and (3) limited debate that constrains the conversation about the importance of what we learn. I argue this state is the result of two unintended consequences of the MBA rankings mania that has influenced U.S. business schools for over 25 years. The first is structural change in doctoral education within U.S. business schools, and the second is a heightened focus on quantitative measurement of faculty research contributions. Because these effects are embedded in the academic cultures of most U.S. business schools, it is difficult to effect substantial positive changes in the short-run. Instead, increasing the level of innovation within our discipline will likely require a long-term focus of 10 to 20 years into the future.
Keywords: innovation, accounting scholarship
JEL Classification: M4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation