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Chp_10 Behavioural Questionnaire Analysis

Chp_10 Behavioural Questionnaire Analysis



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Published by: Dr. Shahul Hameed bin Mohamed Ibrahim on Jan 08, 2009
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Chapter 10
Page 431
In the previous chapter (Chapter 9), the findings of the Islamic Accounting Questionnairewere presented and interpreted. The questionnaire concentrated on four main areas, theethical objectives of Islamic organisations, the suitability/unsuitability of conventionalaccounting for Islamic organisations, the objectives and users of Islamic Accounting and thenature and characteristics of Islamic Accounting information. The findings indicated thatMalaysian Muslim accounting academics and professional accountants in practice,commerce and industry and the public sector all favoured the development of an Islamicaccounting system.This chapter will discuss the results of the second part of the empirical study. This part of thestudy is intended to elicit evidence on one particular area of this enquiry into the need forIslamic Accounting i.e. whether conventional accounting leads to unIslamic behaviour inactual practice in business organisations as opposed to the perceptions of respondents ofAccountants and Academics. This was carried out (as discussed in detail in chapter 7) usingtwo questionnaires; the finance questionnaire and the non-finance questionnaire.The finance questionnaire was given to finance executives of Islamic, Muslim andnon-Muslim corporations, such as accountants and managers, who were responsible forinvestment, financing decision and accounting functions. The results of the financequestionnaires are reported and analysed in section 10.2 and the researcher’s interpretationof the results is given in section 10.3.The Non-finance questionnaire was given to employees of non-accounting function andemployees in the accounting function who were not managers. The purpose of thisquestionnaire was to elicit information on whether accounting tools such as budgeting,performance evaluation and financial reporting leads to unIslamic behaviour among
Chapter 10
Page 432
non-accounting personnel such as those in marketing, human resources or production andnon-managerial personnel in accounting functions. The results of this questionnaire arereported in Section 10.4 and the researcher’s interpretation of the results is given in section10.5.The general conclusions of the chapter (reported in section 10.6) are that the resultsprovide some but not strong support, for the suggestion that conventional accounting leadsto unIslamic behaviour. However, Muslim users of conventional accounting in Islamicorganisations seem to weather the effects of conventional accounting better than Muslimand non-Muslim organisations. Although conventional accounting
does not seem to derailthe objectives of Islamic Business Organisations, this is less so in the case of Muslimorganisations and least in Non-Muslim organisations where conventional accounting profitsdrive the organisations and may lead Muslims to unIslamic behaviour to a larger extent. Dueto the difficulty in defining and accessing the population of respondents and thenon-feasibility of using a random sample, the results cannot be inferred to the population. Onthe other hand, the similarity of results obtained from two sets of sample (executive MBAstudents and those delivered directly) indicated the general validity of the results, at leastprima facie. There is definitely scope for further research on this matter.
As discussed in chapters 3 and 6, the researcher argued that as Accounting has bothpositive and negative behavioural consequences (Prakash & Rappaport, 1977; Miller &O’Leary, 1987) for employees and users within a firm. In particular it may lead tounintended unethical and therefore unIslamic behaviour such as padding of budgets, frictionand tension between employees, an excessive focus on profits to the detriment of social andenvironmental consequences.
Current dominant system of accounting originating in the practices and standards of Anglo-Americanprofessional accountancy bodies, multinational audit firms and Anglo-American dominated standard settingbodies such as the IASC.
Chapter 10
Page 433
The specific purpose of the finance was to investigate whether conventional accountingleads to unIslamic behaviour in three specific areas:
In the investment activities undertaken by the organisation
In the financing activities undertaken by the organisation and
In the operational areas, such as performance evaluation and employee treatment.In addition, it was decided to explore the extent of Islamic commitment among variouscomponents of the management team. Conventionally, senior management focuses onmaximising shareholder wealth and their own perks (Jensen & Meckling, 1976) whichcan be at the cost of other stakeholders and the environment but such behaviour may beconsidered to be unIslamic. As such, a low level of Islamic commitment by senior and middlemanagement can be seen to be evidence of the unIslamic behaviour impact of conventionalaccounting.Although it is possible that Islamic behaviour can be induced by the accounting system asaccounting can construct social reality (e.g. Hines 1988) but the culture and values of theorganisation would have a higher impact on behaviour. Hence, an Islamic organisation setup to operate within an Islamic ethos would tend to behave more Islamically. Muslimsorganisations, which are headed or manned by Muslims, might also see some Islamicbehaviour in the context of Muslims attempting to change their social and economicenvironment around them, especially, in the context of the current Islamic resurgence.However, in both these type of organisations, there is a danger that conventional accountingwith its financial profit focus may slowly damage the Islamic values and induce unIslamicbehaviour away from the goals of Islamic organisations and Muslim managers andemployees over time.Non-Muslim organisations, however, headed by non-Muslims are not expected to exhibitIslamic behaviour to any marked extent as their values and culture are different. However,in a multicultural environment such as Malaysia, a significant number of employees in suchcompanies, especially in the lower levels are Muslims. Further, under the indigenisation

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