Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Science, Volume 4 (1977).


Copyright 1977 by the Authors; used by permission of the NAS


The nature and practice of auditing is described within the context of the social, economic, and political dynamics of the last 100 years. Auditing developed upon a predominantly pragmatic foundation. Within the last decade, auditing scholars such as Mautz, Sharaf, Silvoso, Newmann, and Carmichael have attempted to undergird auditing with theoretical substance. This attempt has been hampered by the absence of an appropriate methodology. Reflection suggests that for a discipline to reach maturity, it must embrace a methodology germane to its particular needs and activities. Efforts to find such a methodology have focused exclusively on the methods of the physical sciences with emphasis on the cognitive-descriptive aspects of theories. The disappointing results of these efforts strongly suggest that the search must take a new direction. An emerging, more powerful, methodology designed to cope more effectively with the almost infinite complexity of theory construction in the social sciences provides that new direction. These methods-which are based on value theory, decision theory, and game theory (Newmann, Morgenstern, Marschak, Churchman-Ackoff, Luce-Raiffa) as well as recent developments in the philosophy of science, especially the methodology of theory construction (Carnap, Hempel, Suppes, Leinfellner)-accord economic, social, and political aspects a viable role in theory construction. The application of these fresh techniques holds great promise for moving auditing toward its own customized methodology.