Theoretical and methodological milestones in international accounting research: the contributions of Jill L. McKinnon

Chris Patel, Graeme Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper chronicles Jill McKinnon's theoretical and methodological contributions to international accounting research generally and socio-cultural research specifically over a 25-year period, 1981–2006. The purposes are: (1) to apprise contemporary and future researchers in international accounting, working with a socio-cultural lens, of a major contributor and contribution to the historical origin and development of that lens; and (2) to revisit and reappraise McKinnon's identification of critical theoretical and methodological cautions to guide future research in international accounting.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper provides a historical narrative and contemporary appraisal of: (1) McKinnon's seminal doctoral research into the Japanese system of corporate reporting regulation using a holistic and dynamic socio-cultural model of social systems change; and (2) her contribution to the advancement of cross-cultural international accounting research including her critique of that research leading to the identification of cautions, the recognition and observance of which are critical to the development of contemporary and future research. The narrative is informed by historical context of time and space, and imbued and interwoven with the personal story of McKinnon both as human and humane.

Findings: McKinnon's research invoking holistic theoretical and methodological perspectives provides a continuing template and pathway to guide contemporary and future international accounting researchers and to shape the development of international accounting research. Her career, research and humanity leave a legacy distilled into four themes that serve as counsels for accounting research and researchers; eclecticism of world-view and method choice, rigour, holism and the importance of collegiality with and to the accounting research community.

Originality/value: The paper provides original insights into the personality, career development and research of an important contributor to international accounting research specifically and interdisciplinary research in accounting generally. The paper demonstrates empirically the importance of historical analysis, contextualized by time, space and person, in understanding and informing the present state of international accounting research and, hence, linking past, present and future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1713
Number of pages21
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number8
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021


  • Accounting history
  • International accounting research
  • Japanese corporate reporting regulation
  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Socio-cultural research


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