Description: The primary objective of this dissertation is to determine the factors that have shaped the corporate financial reporting practices in Bahrain. Prior researchers have offered two explanations, environmental factors and cultural importation, for the emergence of financial reporting practices in developing countries. The environmental explanation suggests that a nation's financial reporting practices will be shaped by its socioeconomic structure. The cultural importation explanation states that the desire for international legitimacy creates incentives for developing nation to adopt Western financial reporting practices. Bahrain provided an excellent environment in which to examine the two explanations since its public and closed corporations have similar economic characteristics. Only public corporations are legally required to publish financial reports. I posited that public corporations would try to gain legitimacy for their published reports by adopting Western standards, while closed corporations would not have a similar incentive. I used an interpretive framework to analyze the Bahrain socioeconomic environment and to examine the general financial reporting practices of Bahraini corporations. I found that closed corporations provided data responsive to the Bahraini environment. Public corporations, however, adopted International Accounting Standards. My analysis supported prior researchers7 findings that colonialism, the need for international legitimacy, and international audit firms were important factors in gaining acceptance for Western accounting practices. The adoption of Western financial reporting practices may be dysfunctional to a developing nation like Bahrain if these practices do not provide relevant information about corporate performance. Therefore, Bahrain, as well as other developing countries, needs to proceed cautiously before adopting Western corporate reporting practices.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Abdul-Rahim, Hassan M.