The business press is showering criticism on business academics, citing failure to teach relevant skills to students and a perceived increasing irrelevance of research streams. This criticism is echoed by some academics who assert the need for serious consideration of the academy's direction. In this essay, we examine and extend this body of criticism and explore its implications for accounting research and education. We discuss how our discipline has freely borrowed methodology from the physical sciences and how this importation has led to the adoption of excessively simplified economic theories. We also consider the self‐fulfilling attribute of social science theories and how this attribute has led to formulations of behavioral models, instantiation of those models in the business environment, and eventual conformity of manager behavior related to the underlying assumptions of these models. We then examine agency theory in light of this dynamic and explore how the discipline‐wide espousal of this theory may have led our accounting education system to unwittingly introduce and then normalize narrowly self‐interested behavior. Finally, we suggest ways to improve accounting education that embrace multiple perspectives for preparing students to act truly in the public interest.

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