A Critique of Gray's framework on accounting values using Germany as a case study

Eva Heidhues, Chris Patel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


In the current rush towards globalization and convergence, the influence of culture on accounting has been increasingly recognized as an important and controversial topic. However, quantified and narrowly focused approaches such as Gray’s (1988) framework of accounting values have largely dominated cross-cultural accounting research and education without a critical evaluation of their theoretical and methodological limitations. As such, the objective of this paper is to provide evidence that Gray’s (1988) framework and hypotheses are too simplistic to provide valuable insights into the development and structure of national accounting models. Using Germany as a case study, we critically examine Gray’s (1988) accounting values and particularly the secrecy hypothesis, to demonstrate that this framework largely fails to describe Germany’s accounting model. We recommend that accounting research will be enhanced by a critical examination of political, legal, social and historical environments of countries rather that a focus on measurement, quantification, simplification and categorization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference 2009
Subtitle of host publicationpapers
PublisherUniversitat Innsbruck
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference 2009 - Innsbruck, Austria
Duration: 9 Jul 200911 Jul 2009


ConferenceInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference 2009
CityInnsbruck, Austria


  • international accounting
  • culture
  • accounting subculture
  • Hofstede-Gray theory
  • Germany


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