Behavioral Accounting--A Personal View

Edwin H. Caplan

This paper presents personal views about the development of behavioral accounting--how it evolved, where is it today, and where it might be going. Behavioral accounting research emerged in the 1960s as accountants began to apply concepts from the behavioral sciences in the setting of the new business school philosophy of the time. The quality of research to date has been mixed, but there have been some excellent contributions. Suggestions for improving quality include (1) the establishment of a research institute, (2) more joint research efforts with behavioral scientists, and (3) a greater use of case studies. In the future, behavioral researchers in accounting need to be concerned about the incorporation of behavioral issues as an integral part of the accounting curriculum and greater acceptance of their research findings in practice. The impact on practice of behavioral research in accounting has been minimal, primarily because of the prevalence of organizational attitudes that are inconsistent with the findings of such research.

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