The international harmonization of accounting standards: making progress in accounting practice or an endless struggle?
This research paper aims to use a Foucauldian theoretical framework to explain Australia's attempts to develop a set of global accounting standards. The involvement of the current Australian Federal Governrrient (AFG) in the standard setting process is crucial to this understanding. The argument put forward by the AFG is seen as one that is constructed according to the "totalizing" discourse of globalization. The power and knowledge of the Australian Accounting Profession (AAP) and the AFG, are highlighted using the Foucauldian framework, providing a means by which this process of harmonization can be appreciated. Australia's ill project will be explored, with particular emphasis on the AFG's involvement. This research paper provides an understanding of the Foucauldian theoretical framework, highlighting the significance of discourse, and power and knowledge relationships being studied in an archaeological and genealogical context. This allows a discussion and analysis of the ill project in Australia, with special attention given to the AAP and AFG roles in creating and sustaining a globalization discourse for the accounting and business community, through the interplay of power and knowledge. In order to promote the ill project, the paper reveals the promulgation of proposed benefits of ill. These benefits are shown to be based on the neo-liberal version of globalization. In a fmal section, this research paper critiques the proposed benefits of a globalized accounting discourse that business in Australia now faces. It is concluded that the ill project in Australia can be best described as an endless struggle to dominate accounting discourse, rather than as representing progress in accounting practice.