David Cooper


Alberta School of Business - Department of Accounting and Business Analytics



Research Interests

My research is primarily in critical management studies, management accounting and control, and the regulation of accounting and accountants. My research is interdisciplinary, critically orientated, and problem centered, drawing on sociology, political science and social theory to understand regulation, organizational and managerial rationality, and performance measurement and management.

I am actively involved in two longstanding interdisciplinary research projects. The first examines globalization and management systems. This work draws on institutional theory and theories of cultural globalization. This research focuses on performance measurement systems (in corporations, governments. and NGOs). Second, I continue to work on international accounting regulation, including the ideology of self regulation, the governance of professional bodies, professional ethics, the construction of demand for accounting and assurance services, and the translation of global accounting standards into national regulatory regimes. In this work I integrate theories of professions and regulation. Former students have appointments at top Schools such as Ivey (Western), Schulich (York), HEC (Paris) and Cardiff.

For many years, I was Director of the PhD program for the Alberta School of Business, and am personally keen to supervise PhD students in either of the above areas of research, plus any other areas that excite me! My recent PhD students have worked in areas such as performance measurement, standard setting at the IASB, accounting policy making and the state, and corporate management- investment analyst interaction.

I am joint editor of Accounting, Organizations and Society and on the editorial boards of several other accounting journals. I am also a Consulting Editor of Critical Perspectives on Accounting, a journal which I launched in 1990 and which is dedicated to the role of accounting in organizational and social accountability.


In my teaching I integrate organizational and quantitative modeling, linking critical thinking skills to the application of management techniques. In recent years I have taught management accounting and management control systems to undergraduates and MBAs (both the regular and Executive programs). I have regularly presented doctoral courses in accounting (in accountability and accounting regulation and in social and organizational perspectives on management accounting) in Alberta, as well as being invited to conduct such a course at the Copenhagen School of Business. Since 1987, I have been a regular faculty member of the Doctoral Colloquium for the European Accounting Association and am a contributor to the EDEN doctoral program course on Case Research in Management Accounting.

I have been extensively involved in executive development courses, notably in managing organizational performance for senior government managers and on costing and performance management.