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Q methodology to conduct a critical study in accounting: A Q study on accountants’ perspectives of social and environmental reporting

Matthew Sorola

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2022, vol. 86, issue C

Abstract: Critical accounting scholars have long lamented the hegemony of a business case rationale in accounting and its impact on the representation of interests other than those of shareholders. However, relatively little prior research has considered the perspectives of the accountant, and what little there is raises concerns about their capacity to engage with ideological diversity and complexity. Q methodology (QM) is a research method that can help critical researchers explore individuals’ perspectives around politically contentious issues by identifying a plurality of perspectives, as well as surfacing the political frontiers between them. To demonstrate this utility, I present a Q methodological study (Q study) of accountants’ perspectives of social and environmental reporting (SER). Theoretically positioned from within critical dialogic accounting, the Q study includes 33 participants – practitioners, academics and students – from Aotearoa New Zealand. QM provides a means for identifying, articulating and analysing, in this case three divergent Factors, or shared perspectives, of SER. Further analysis demonstrates how QM can identify ‘seeds of hope’ and open ‘spaces of possibility’ that lead me to recharacterise accountants’ capacity to engage in SER.

Keywords: Research methods; Q methodology; Critical dialogic accounting; Accountants’ perspectives; Social and environmental reporting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:crpeac:v:86:y:2022:i:c:s1045235421000745

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpa.2021.102355

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