Inspired by Habermas' theory of communicative action and interpretations of his work on “ideal speech,” this study offers a research methodology for developing philosophically grounded and morally informed accounting policy. The “valuesdirected” approach aspires to qualities of ideal speech by being approached through a carefully guided process of public dialogue. The methodology was developed using a New Zealand public hospital case in which repeated contact with 33 participants provided multiple opportunities for them to reflect on policy as to “best” report content. Findings emerge in the form of whether, how, and in what respects the research process conformed to the qualities expected of it. The findings are encouraging as they reveal a growth in such desired conditions as the participants' focus on the research objective, open discussions about controversial issues, the “listening” tendency of participants, movements toward consensus, and perhaps some level of the transformative deliberation to which this methodology aspires. The study concludes with recommendations as to how the values‐directed approach could be applied to other questions of public or organizational accounting policy, and how it could inform action research.

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