A labor-based explanation for accounting innovation in a late nineteenth century American corporation

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In 1888, the Quincy Mining Co. changed its payroll accounting practices. Although efficiency was almost certainly a contributing factor, the nature and timing of this accounting innovation cannot be fully explained by efficiency alone. Instead, the new procedures are attributed to the transformation of American labor that characterized the last part of the 19th century. It is argued that the accounting changes reflect a realignment of the organizational relationship between management and labor. Through a contextual examination of a 19th century accounting innovation, insights are provided to the social and cultural influences upon accounting processes.

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© 1998 Academy of Accounting Historians. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.2308/0148-4184.25.1.93

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The Accounting Historians Journal