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The knowledge Production Process and Annual Report Readability Research: A Critical Literature Synthesis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ekaete Efretuei


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The paper studies the knowledge production process in an academic discipline, using Annual Report Readability research as a case study. It does this using a critical literature synthesis of the social influence pressure method of analysis and Whitley’s (2000) theory of ‘mutual dependence’ and ‘task uncertainty’, to assess how obedience pressure and conformity pressure affect the knowledge production process (KPP) in an intellectual environment conditioned by a high degree of mutual dependence and a high degree of task uncertainty. The study hypothesizes that a high degree of mutual dependence and task uncertainty in an intellectual environment increases authority, which increases the role social influence pressure plays in the production of knowledge. Consistent with the critical arguments in the literature on social influence pressure, the paper develops a contextual framework using the process of knowledge production in a predefined intellectual environment to explain the current critical stage of the development of the annual report readability research (ARR) in accounting. It demonstrates that there are indications that the observed patterns of knowledge production in annual report readability research has been driven by social influence pressure. The literature synthesis contributes to the readability debate on the failing project of accounting narrative obfuscation attributable to the intellectual environment (Rutherford 2016). It concludes with propositions that there are benefits and costs to the identified intellectual environment and that critically reviewing the observed patterns in readability research has wider implications for the production of knowledge in society. To the best of the author’s knowledge, this paper is novel in its synthesis of theoretical applications to the annual report readability research environment, it contributes to the stream of literature on social impact theory and knowledge production directed at critical accounting research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Efretuei E

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference

Year of Conference: 2017

Online publication date: 03/07/2017

Acceptance date: 28/02/2017