The ABO Reporter

Message From the Chair

It has been my pleasure to serve as President of the Accounting Behavior and Organization section of the AAA since the annual meetings in San Diego this August. I have had the good fortune of being supported by an unusually able cast of officers, ex-officers, and well-wishing academic colleagues. I look forward to the challenges for the remainder of my term.

The financial condition of the section made it necessary for us to defer our plans to hold an international research conference in 2000. We remain committed to the importance of such an event, believing that behavioral research on topics that transcend our usual parochial boundaries needs special recognition and support. We are hoping to return to this plan in the next few years.

I am pleased to report that the section has been restored to a modest degree of financial health. Translated, this means that we have the funds to accomplish the central value-added missions that surveys of our membership have endorsed. Your $15.00 dues entitles you to arguably the strongest and most focused AAA Journal, Behavioral Research in Accounting, as well as a newsletter with real research relevance. Membership also facilitates the presentation of your research at the section's midyear meeting. This event forges a special sort of camaraderie among like-minded scholars that cannot be replicated at the AAA's annual or regional gatherings.

I want to take the opportunity of this pulpit to recommend attendance at the 2000 section meeting to be held Oct. 6-7 in historic and beautiful downtown Chicago. This meeting promises to try new means to provide broad-based value to the membership. Please see the announcement of this meeting elsewhere in this newsletter.

Now that most of you have stopped reading, I would like to have some fun with some personal observations about the recently completed ABO Conference in Costa Mesa, California. Although idiosyncratic, these remarks speak to the general value of ABO section membership and of taking advantage of its research facilitation.

One of the things that you can count on is the intimate nature of the gathering. Not adrift within the juggernaut of the financial-economic paradigm that defines the AAA annual meeting, we gather enveloped by common priorities and sensibilities. By having less than a million people to bump into for ten seconds apiece, we continue, at a leisurely pace, conversations begun in different time zones and when we were slightly younger. It is a community based upon ideas, but also upon values.

The idea of the plenary speech is a daunting one. Even within a group of people with similar research interests, what set of thoughts would be sufficiently compelling to a plurality of the attendees? The usual strategy is to call upon the outsider. Someone from practice, or even from politics or the media, is a safe play at the annual meeting. Here however, such fluff would hardly do. Therefore, we walk the line; how applied, whose theory, what is in our ceteris parabus? An open mind is essential to prevent one from always thinking, "how can I use this tomorrow?"

The concurrent sessions always allow for an easy calculation at the smaller research gatherings. Total attendees divided by the number of sessions equals expected session attendance. This becomes less reliable as the meeting progresses, as some attendees filter out to catch a little well-deserved recreation in an exceptional location. Behavior research is its own reward, no matter how sliced. Behavioral research is exceptionally broad as familiarity breeds awareness of the nuances that separate the sessions.

For many of us, the midyear meeting culminates with taking up the business of running the section. What can we do, what should we do, what does the membership want - questions always pondered in the absence of ample data. On balance, more satisfying than the administration of accounting departments. Available to all with the energy to put their hand up and pitch in. Those that give up time that could have been put into more personal pleasures will never be compensated with much more than the satisfaction that they did what they could to be an ideal larger than themselves.

In closing, I wish you all a successful academic year. Could it be put any better than by Continental Airlines in their current motto: "Work hard. Fly right.?"

Tim Fogarty

Back to Table of Contents