The introduction of French theory
into English language accounting
HEC Paris (GREGHEC, UMR-CNRS 2959), Jouy en Josas, France, and
C. Richard Baker
Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, New York, USA and
Rouen Business School, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
Purpose – This purpose of this paper is to investigate the introduction of French theory into English
language accounting research and to assess the impact of the work of French social theorists on the
accounting research domain.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a citation analysis of articles appearing in
selected English language accounting research journals for a sample of French authors, during the
periods from the inception of the journals to mid-2009. In performing this citation analysis, 39 French
authors who are well known as social theorists, philosophers, economists or sociologists were
included. The accounting research journals chosen for analysis included the top four journals listed in
many league tables for accounting research along with several journals that regularly publish research
in accounting history or that focus on alternative research paradigms.
Findings – The citation analysis identiﬁed the following French authors as being the most
frequently cited: Michel Foucault, followed by Bruno Latour and Pierre Bourdieu. The citation analysis
also identiﬁed the English language accounting research journals in which French social theorists
have been most often cited. The two most signiﬁcant journals have been Critical Perspectives on
Accounting and Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, followed by Accounting Organizations
and Society, Management Accounting Research and European Accounting Review. The analysis also
shows the effects of mimeticism, which seems to have produced a sort of isomorphism in the styles of
publication. Accounting, Organizations and Society, appears to be the standard-setter of the
critical-interpretive ﬁeld of accounting research.
Originality/value – This paper is the ﬁrst known to provide a comprehensive analysis of the
introduction of French theory into English language accounting research.;
Keywords Accounting, Economics research, Authorship, France, Accounting theory
Paper type General review
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The authors would like to thank Benedicte Doan-Grall for her helpful research assistance, and
James Guthrie, the Joint Editor of AAAJ, for his helpful comments.
Note re this article and review. In early 2008, a call for papers for a special issue of AAAJ
focusing on the introduction of French theory into English language accounting research was
issued. In total, 16 articles were received in January 2009. After reviews, six articles were
recommended for further revision during the remainder of 2009. Six articles were ultimately
received and accepted in July 2010. Four of these articles are included in Volume 24, Issue 2 of
AAAJ (2011). One appears in Issue 3 and one appears in Issue 4.
Accounting, Auditing &
Vol. 24 No. 2, 2011
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