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CPA-AGRC Seminar Series - Charles Cho

The Blind Spots of Interdisciplinarity

Date & Time

February 5, 2021


Zoom - link provided in reminder email the day before the event

Charles Cho, PhD.

Professor of Accounting, Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business & Sustainability, Schulich School of Business, York University

When implemented effectively, interdisciplinary research has the potential to generate novel insights that advance our thinking about a particular phenomenon, as well as produce practical impact. Despite decades of calls for such research, research communities are becoming more siloed and less impactful (especially in accounting research). We propose that an unexamined reason for this problem is the diffusion of a particular mode of interdisciplinary research. Specifically, we observe researchers who are trained in accounting, work in accounting departments and publish in accounting journals, yet label themselves as ‘interdisciplinary researchers’ because they import theories from other fields. This mode, that we term ‘identity-based’ interdisciplinary accounting research (IAR), is a selective interpretation of what interdisciplinary means, that is, one that capitalizes upon calls for impactful, boundary-spanning work without incurring any of the costs and penalties associated with true interdisciplinary research. This paper aims to highlight the dangers of identity-based IAR, and instead argue that interdisciplinarity should be more of a practice. We argue that IAR can be best achieved through the collaboration of researchers from different fields by integrating the members of a research team’s background and training. Our purpose is to demonstrate how the intersection of perspectives from different fields (and different career stages) can enrich scholarly output for multiple stakeholders. We show this ‘practice-based IAR’ may unfold through different channels, allowing for meaningful and impactful research, effective diffusion and dissemination and an IAR community that encourages interdisciplinary research practices.

About the Speaker

Charles H. Cho is Professor of Accounting and the Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business & Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business, York University. His research interests include Social and Environmental Accounting; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Accounting and the Public Interest. Professor Cho has published papers in prestigious academic journals such as Accounting, Auditing and Accountability JournalAccounting, Organizations and SocietyCritical Perspectives on Accounting, the European Accounting Review, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

He currently serves as an Editor of Accounting Forum, the Accounting and Business Ethics Section Co-Editor of the Journal of Business Ethics, and is an Editorial Board member of 14 other academic journals. He is regularly invited as plenary keynote speaker at international conferences and is actively involved in the academic community as a Council member of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research and Chair of the International Associates Committee. Finally, he has taught financial and managerial accounting courses and designed some CSR/sustainability and business ethics courses at the undergraduate, graduate (MBA, MSc), PhD levels as well as in executive programs for corporate managers.

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