This distinguished and dedicated accounting scholar brought organizational and social analysis into research on accounting institutions. Born in 1944 at Stoke-on-Trent, Britain, his interest in accounting was initiated at an early age by an uncle who was an accountant and by the public attention to accounting and business development in the economic reconstruction of Britain following World War II.
Upon graduation from Hanley High School in 1962, he entered the London School of Economics and Political Science. Here he pursued a broad range of studies but concentrated in accounting under the direction of William Baxter, Harold Edey and Basil Yamey. His excellent performance was rewarded with various awards and scholarships, including the Raynes Undergraduate Prize for the best overall student performance in the first year. He graduated in 1965 with first class honors. Upon graduation, he was award a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.
A Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship and an Arthur Andersen Fellowship in Accounting enabled him to remain at the University of Chicago for a Ph.D. following his M.B.A. It was a time of rising interest in empirical research fostered by David Green and other Chicago faculty and supported by the newly established Journal of Accounting Research. A course on organizational theory taught by Paul Goodman led him to a new way to study accounting and to a doctoral dissertation based on two years of field research in a Gary, Indiana, steel mill. The study also set in motion a career-long dedication to organizational and social analysis of accounting institutions.
In 1970, he completed his PhD work at Chicago and returned to Britain to join the business faculty at the University of Manchester. In 1973, he became a member of the Senior Staff of the Administrative Staff College at Henley-on-Thames and, in 1976, he joined the Oxford Centre for Management Studies at the University of Oxford. In 1978, he was named Institute of Chartered Accountants Professor of Accounting and Financial Reporting at the London Business School where he remained for seven years, also serving as director of their doctoral program. In 1985, he joined the London School of Economics and Political Science as Ernst and Young Professor of International Accounting and Financial Management. Ten years later, he returned to Oxford as Professor of Management Studies, Fellow of Templeton College, and Deputy Director of the then School of Management Studies. In 1999, he was named Dean of Oxford’s Saїd Business School, a post he held for seven years. He continues to hold the American Standards Companies Professorship in Operations Management awarded to him in 1997 by the University of Oxford and is a Student (Fellow) of Christ Church college.
In 1976, implementing an idea developed at Manchester and working with Pergamon Press, he launched Accounting, Organizations and Society, a journal that laid the foundation for a new field of accounting research. His commitment and tireless efforts in the years that followed have created a network of scholars, across Europe and also in the United States, dedicated to researching and teaching from a social science perspective. His record of published work includes eight books or monographs, 11 edited collections, and over 80 published articles in scholarly and professional journals. This work has influenced countless scholars in Europe and the United States and created a new field for accounting research that has provided new and important insights into the role of accounting in contemporary society. In addition he has served on over 15 editorial review boards.
His contributions to accounting include an extensive record of service to professional and governmental organizations. For thirty years, he has been associated with the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in Brussels, serving as its president from 1995 to 2003. In addition, he played a key role in the establishment of the European Accounting Association, serving two terms as its president in 1977-79 and 1987-88. He has served on committees, boards and councils of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the American Accounting Association, The Tavistock Institute, the Canadian Certified General Accountants’ Research Foundation, and many other organizations. In the governmental domain, he has served on committees and working groups and in advisory roles for the European Commission, the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the British Social Science Research Council, and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. In addition, he served as senior advisor to The Prince of Wales Project on Accounting for Sustainability.
His many honors and awards include honorary doctorates from five European universities. In 1998, he received the British Accounting Association’s Distinguished Academic Award. In addition, he has been named fellow or distinguished lecturer by academic and professional organizations in the United States and Europe including the American Accounting Association, European Accounting Association, the Royal Society of Sciences of Uppsala (Sweden), and the European Institute of Advanced Studies (Brussels).
He and his wife Caryl live in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. They have two sons and four grandchildren. He is the eighty-second member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, Anthony George Hopwood.