The Accounting concept of measurement and the thin line between representational measurement theory and the classical theory of measurement.
Musvoto, S. Wedzerai
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The purpose of this study is to discuss a possible way forward in accounting measurement. It also highlights the importance of understanding the lack of appreciation given by the accounting researchers to the distinction between representation measurement theory and the axioms of quantity on which the classical theory of measurement is based. For long, research in measurement theory has classified representational measurement as nothing but applications of the axioms of quantity. It was believed that there is in existence a single approach to measurement theory. However, recent studies in measurement theory have shown that there are two sides to measurement theory; one side at the interface with experimental science which is emphasized in representational measurement and the other side at the interface with quantitative theory which is emphasized in the classical measurement theory. Research in accounting measurement has concentrated on establishing a representational based accounting measurement theory. This has been done under the premise that no measurement theory exists in the discipline. Thus, this viewpoint neglects the concepts of classical measurement theory that already exists in the accounting discipline. Moreover, this created misunderstandings in accounting with regard to whether a theory of measurement exists in the discipline. This study highlights that the accounting concept of measurement was conceived under the principles of the classical measurement theory. Therefore this reason, it is suggested that research and improvements to the accounting measurement concept should be made in the light of the already existing principles of the classical theory of measurement in which the accounting concept of measurement was conceived.
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