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Understanding Syrian accountants' perceptions of, and attitudes towards, social accounting
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Professor Sonja Gallhofer
Kamla R, Gallhofer S, Haslam J
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
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– This paper adds to a focus of the social accounting literature (on perceptions and attitudes to social accounting) by seeking to offer insights into Syrian accountants' attitudes towards, and perceptions of, social accounting in Syria in the first decade of the twenty-first century, with particular attention to its role, future development and implementation.
– The paper takes the form of an analysis of interviews of Syrian accountants; contextual analysis (and an appreciation of the prior literature).
– Syrian accountants' perceptions are shaped by developments in Syria's socio-political and economic context, encompassing imperialism/colonialism, globalisation and cultural specificities, including Islam. Interviewees perceived a significant role for a social accounting – that would parallel the Western form of social accounting – in enhancing well-being in the dynamic context. At the same time, they were reluctant to see the development and implementation of this accounting in Syria as an urgent issue, so that this social accounting might be left initially at least with an even more marginal part to play than in the West. The study suggests that a combination of forces – global developments, Western imperialism and Syria's colonial history – have had a substantively repressive rather than progressive impact on the development of social accounting in Syria vis-à-vis its more positive potential.
– All limitations of interview research apply. This study focuses on Syria in a context when economic transition was a major issue. Further studies of economies in transition would be of interest.
– An awareness of how the local and the global interact in debates over social accounting can provide insights for policy makers concerned with accounting regulation.
– The focus on Syria, a non-Western country, enriches the social accounting literature, which focuses mainly on Western developments.
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