Doing critical management accounting research in emerging economies

Chandana Gnanapriya Alawattage, Danture Wickramasinghe, Mathew Tsamenyi, Shahzad Uddin

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bstract: The paper introduces methodological and theoretical premises of critical management accounting research and provides some guidance for researchers. We see critical management accounting research in terms of three overlapping and interrelated ‘analytical acts’ that researchers often perform: contextualising, historicising and theorising. To contextualise, researchers need to establish connections between local, everyday management accounting occurrences and changes taking place in the wider socio-political and cultural spheres. Historicising relates micro-histories to macro-histories. Thus, critical researchers need to locate management accounting technologies in historically-specific social and political contexts, and understand their emergence and reproduction as outcomes of the evolution of political-economic systems. Given the empirical findings are often site-specific and idiosyncratic in critical research, theorisation is important. Although they may be quite interesting in their peculiarity, especially to the local readership in those countries, these findings need to be made interesting for wider consumption. Theorising, in this sense, is a critical act signifying local occurrences by raising and placing them in a higher-order schema of meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Scientific and Applied Accounting
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • management accounting
  • social theory
  • History
  • politics
  • Epistemology
  • critical studies


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