Reflections on a contingent view of accounting

Christopher S. Chapman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

299 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a promising start and many subsequent studies, commentators point out that the literature has not yet developed a credible and comprehensive contingency theory of accounting. This paper argues that a major problem facing the development of an overall framework is the distinctive research characterization which has developed around such efforts. The strength of definitions of what are, and are not "contingency studies" means that essentially contingent arguments in studies which fall outside this remit are not always recognized as such. This failure to draw on this potentially rich source of ideas as to the contingent nature of accounting can only be seen as hindering progress towards the kind of credibility which the field currently lacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-205
Number of pages17
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997


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