Skip to main content

Are Accounting Standards Memes? The Survival Of Accounting Evolution In An Age Of Regulation

Rutherford, Brian A. (2020) Are Accounting Standards Memes? The Survival Of Accounting Evolution In An Age Of Regulation. Philosophy of Management, . ISSN 1740-3812. (doi:10.1007/s40926-020-00142-0) (KAR id:81874)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English


Download (540kB) Preview
[thumbnail of Rutherford2020_Article_AreAccountingStandardsMemesThe.pdf]
Preview
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of ASAM-MS-Rev2+Cov-POM.pdf]
Microsoft Word Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of ASAM-MS-Rev2+Cov-POM.docx]
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40926-020-00142-0

Abstract

This paper employs memetics to argue against the view that standardisation overwhelms the evolution of accounting. I suggest that, in an unregulated setting, accounting procedures constitute classic memes and survive according to their fitness for their environment, which is predominantly a matter of their suitability for investment decision-making. In a standardising regime, the standardising canon embodies a special kind of meme encoding ideas as actions to be imitated to realise those ideas. Evolutionary pressures and the canon develop in tandem, although not necessarily synchronously. If we accept the central tenet of memetics, which is also the assumption underlying the argument challenged here, that memes emerging before regulation were responsive to evolutionary pressures, we can analyse the responsiveness of the standardising canon by examining its relationship to a counterfactual continuation of the pre-regulated regime. The degree of synchronicity is an empirical, but elusive, question and we should follow Dennett’s recommendation that we settle for the philosophical realisations we can glean from memetics. I argue that three factors are of importance in addressing the question. Accounting memes function within a dense ecology, limiting radical and destabilising change. There has been a high degree of continuity, permeability and commonality in the intellection driving development: the same thinking has influenced policy design wherever it has taken place. Finally, the principal determinant of successful adaptation did not change on the transition to standardisation and the canon and its vehicles have survived. Consequently, we can conclude that standardisation has not disrupted the development of accounting.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s40926-020-00142-0
Uncontrolled keywords: Accounting standardisation; accounting theory; accounting practice; evolution; memetic theory.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Kent Business School (do not use)
Depositing User: Brian Rutherford
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2020 16:19 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/81874 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):