Developing a matrix approach to categorise the social and environmental accounting research literature

Martin Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper attempts to improve on the framework used by Mathews (1997a) to organise the growing social and environmental accounting research literature by, firstly, using the philosophies perceived to underlie research studies in order to categorise contributions, and secondly, by combining the two approaches into a matrix structure. It was found that underlying philosophies appear to range from critical theory, through the social contract of business and society and organisational legitimacy to the 'business case' at the other end of a possible spectrum. The models or operating systems loosely associated with these motivators included idealistic exhortation, mega-accounting theory, various forms of Triple Bottom Line reports based on GR12002, AA1000, and SA8000, and environmental management accounting influenced by EMAS and ISO14000. To illustrate the application of this approach examples have been drawn from a number of proposals or models that have been made to organise additional disclosures within reports to a range of stakeholders. The same examples would be classified under the framework used in Mathews (1997a) as either normative statements or philosophical discussion. The use of perceived underlying philosophy to categorise contributions can be combined with the other parts of the framework to create a matrix into which the literature may be organised.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-45
    Number of pages16
    JournalQualitative Research in Accounting and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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