At first, business disciplines in Italy were shaped starting from observation of both business events and accounting models in use. Among them, accounting theory grew up first; its axioms derive from empirical and historical evidence, on the one hand, and economic theory principles, on the other hand; through a deductive reasoning, the resulting constructs are normative in nature. During the first half of the XX century Italian business studies established a unitary discipline, called “Economia aziendale”, where organisation, management and accountancy were put together according to a holistic rationale. In the last decades of the twentieth century, international business research methodology started to be renewed. Speculative a priori reasoning has been generally set aside and natural science approaches taken into account. Researchers now look for connections among real world phenomena and their theoretical generalisations; theories that could explain phenomena are also shaped via logical reasoning and have to be corroborated by empirical tests. Severe research procedures are stated and accepted in the scientific environments. Statistical tools are highly used in quantitative methods; case studies are often observed and described in qualitative methods. Research quality is assessed using criteria as its reliability: could the study be repeated by another researcher at a different place and time? Its internal validity: how about the logical consistence of the study? Moreover, its external validity: is it possible to generalise the study findings? Looking at the work of a not forgotten Italian Master: Pietro Onida, the present paper aims to analyse the actual business research approach in our Country. The final idea claims that, from a methodological point of view, it is possible to identify two research areas: 1) the formal science, mainly relating to accounting theory; 2) the empirical science, relating to business life conditions and displays and, more in detail, to connections among organisational, managerial, accounting and environmental variables.
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