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Reflections on the public interest in accounting

Dellaportas, Steven and Davenport, Laura 2008, Reflections on the public interest in accounting, Critical perspectives on accounting, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 1080-1098.

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Title Reflections on the public interest in accounting
Author(s) Dellaportas, Steven
Davenport, Laura
Journal name Critical perspectives on accounting
Volume number 19
Issue number 7
Start page 1080
End page 1098
Publisher Elsevier Ltd.
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2008-11
ISSN 1045-2354
1095-9955
Keyword(s) Public interest
Code of ethics
Accounting profession
Self-interest
Serving the public interest
Summary The expression, ‘the public interest’ is so ingrained in policy development, that reforms in accounting are often championed under the notion that such developments will enhance the well-being of the community. While the public interest is well understood at policy level, at operating level the expression is ambiguous and has a multiplicity of interpretations. Current conceptions of the public interest are inadequate to define a principle which must stand as a measure of public policy. Who exactly is the public, what are the interests of the public, and what does it mean to serve the public interest? Consequently, members of the accounting profession are expected to comply with a principle that is vague and ambiguous. This paper undertakes a critical analysis of the public interest in accounting relying on a typology of public interest theories (normative, consensualist, process, and abolitionist theories) developed by Cochran [Cochran CE. Political science and “the public interest”. The Journal of Politics 1974;36(2):327–55]. The analysis indicates that existing knowledge and understanding of the public interest, is in part, consistent with some aspects of the Cochran’s [Cochran CE. Political science and “the public interest”. The Journal of Politics 1974;36(2):327–55] typology of public interest theories and inconsistent in others. The analysis also indicates that there is room for the profession to provide further guidance on the meaning of the public interest and how to apply it in practice.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 220199 Applied Ethics not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017649

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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