Accounting Practices: The Change I See
Purpose – The aim of this study is to clarify the nature of change based upon the concept of impermanence. In particular, we will answer two questions; what change is, and why individuals perceive change differently. These are some key issues raised by past researchers of accounting change that require further examination and fuller explanation.
Design/methodology/approach – This study uses the concept of "aniccata" (often translated as "impermanence") from Buddhist philosophy, which assumes that everything that one perceives as existing is a construction of the observer, owing to limitations in perceiving the continual process of emergence and decline of all things. Empirical materials were gathered on change in a telecommunications organisation in Sri Lanka using interviews and document reviews to construct our knowledge about Sri Lanka Telecom, its context and accounting practices.
Findings – Using the concept of impermanence, we demonstrate that what individuals observe as change in accounting practices is the difference in the properties of the static entities constructed by individuals due to delays in observing or inability to observe all instantaneous changes of a given aspect. As individuals' constructions are subject to their personal knowledge, interests, and experiences, properties of these constructions differ from one observer to another. As individuals observe changes relative to the properties of their own constructions, they perceive change in accounting practices differently and act accordingly.
Originality/value – This study introduces a different perspective to extant literature in order to explain change in organisations and accounting practices. It answers questions that remained open in relation to the nature of change in accounting practices.