Accounting and culture: The case of Solomon Islands

Purpose – This paper sets out to review research on the compatibility between values underlying western accounting systems and traditional Solomon Islands cultural values. The research takes a sociological view of accounting to better understand how imported accounting values and practices fit into, and interact with, local traditions. Design/methodology/approach – An interpretive methodology uses in-depth interviews and participant observation. Both inductive and a priori approaches identify and describe major themes. Findings – The areas of conflict found between accounting themes and traditional Solomon Island group values relate to: the objectivity and neutrality of accounting; profit and wealth maximisation as the bottom-line; the separateness of the economic entity; time-based accounting controls; and the underlying basis of competition for efficiency and effectiveness in western accounting systems. Research limitations/implications – The challenge is to identify how to adapt accounting and management practices so they fit into existing local cultural values and practices. Solomon Islanders must also determine how some of their cultural values can be adapted to suit contemporary economic circumstances. Practical implications – The paper recommends that consideration be given to recasting elements of accounting and management practice so that they better reflect the nature of the society/activities being represented – namely, the discharge of accountability; valuing intangible business outcomes; owner-entity separation; time management; and bounded competition. Originality/value – The research is one of the few studies on the culture-accounting relationship in a developing and economically poor part of the Asia-Pacific region.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Hauriasi, A. & Davey, H. (2009). Accounting and culture: The case of Solomon Islands. Pacific Accounting Review, 21(3), 228-259.
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