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Critical Perspectives on Accounting Essay

In this article Marcus Milne provides critical overview and analysis of literature devoted to establishing evidence for positive accounting theory in regards of corporate social disclosure. The central argument of the paper is that positive accounting theorists are trying to colonize social and environmental accounting research. The present article is empirical research and the author employs qualitative and quantitative data to support the claim that positive accounting theory of social disclosure has failed in its endeavor.

The author’s purpose is to challenge the perceptions of positive accounting theory and to illustrate why efforts of theorists to social and environmental accounting has failed. The author focuses on the original work of Watts and Zimmerman and tends to present their concern and ideas with the lobbying behavior observed in US oil companies. The companies were claimed to be monopolists and self-interested politicians that had pursued mainly wealth transfers in the form of taxes and other political costs. For them, social responsibility is passing remark.

The article is useful to my research topic as Milne suggests that modern businesses and companies should be more concerned with social and environmental responsibility as our world’s resources are not unlimited. The main limitation of the article is that only one original work is incorporated – the article presents one viewpoint without presenting multiple views on the problem. The author indicates that literature on positive accounting theory has failed to provide arguments for self-interested managers’ wealth maximizes. The article will be useful supplementary information for my research on social and environmental responsibility.


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