Douglasian cultural dialogues and the Financial Reporting Council complexity project

Philip Mark Linsley, P.J. Shrives

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There has been near-universal reliance upon Hofstede's cultural dimensions as the theory base for culturally related accounting research. Given the criticisms that have been raised in respect of Hofstede this paper proposes Mary Douglas's cultural theory as a more appropriate theory base for future research. Central to Douglasian cultural theory is the notion of cultural dialogues which proposes that within any community four solidarities will be present and in constant competition. The paper identifies cultural dialogues through an analysis of comments letters submitted to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in response to their ‘complexity of corporate reporting’ discussion paper. To understand how a particular solution has been arrived at when an accounting or auditing issue is reviewed, the debates that precede the outcome need unscrambling by reference to cultural dialogues and the analysis of the comments letters reveals the voices of the different solidarities as they seek to persuade others of the validity of their way of life. The paper proposes a clumsy solutions approach is appropriate for resolving debates on accounting and auditing issues. This approach recognises that, because the solutions offered up by each culture have limitations, all four voices need to be heard in any debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-770
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number8
Early online date3 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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