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Institutional perspectives on cost allocations: integration and extension

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  • Sven Modell
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    Abstract

    The debate on cost allocations in the management accounting literature has been dominated by a largely rationalistic perspective primarily informed by economic theories. However, there is growing evidence of institutional factors influencing cost allocation practices in organizations. This paper draws on neo-institutional sociology (NIS) and attempts to integrate prior research evidence of the institutional influence on cost allocation practices into an analytical framework. The core of our argument hinges on the observation that most cost allocations generate some degree of ambiguity. We argue that the implementation of various cost allocation techniques (in terms of their coupling to operating control) reflects differences in management of such ambiguity, but that this is conditioned by the patterns in which cost allocation techniques diffuse across organizations. We also address some pertinent criticisms of the NIS literature by discussing how certain intra-organizational factors and aspects of the organization's technical environment might interact with external institutional pressures in the implementation of cost allocation techniques. We advance six research propositions reflecting how such external institutional pressures and interaction effects influence the coupling of cost allocation practices to operating control.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0963818022000000993
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 653-679

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:11:y:2002:i:4:p:653-679

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    1. Berry, A. J. & Capps, T. & Cooper, D. & Ferguson, P. & Hopper, T. & Lowe, E. A., 1985. "Management control in an area of the NCB: Rationales of accounting practices in a public enterprise," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-28, January.
    2. Markus, M. Lynne & Pfeffer, Jeffrey, 1983. "Power and the design and implementation of accounting and control systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 205-218, May.
    3. Swieringa, Robert J. & Weick, Karl R., 1987. "Management accounting and action," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 293-308, April.
    4. Euske, K. J. & Riccaboni, A., 1999. "Stability to profitability: managing interdependencies to meet a new environment," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(5-6), pages 463-481, July.
    5. M. N. Ahmed & R. W. Scapens, 2000. "Cost allocation in Britain: towards an institutional analysis," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 159-204.
    6. Andrew Friedman & Stephen Lyne, 1997. "Activity-based techniques and the death of the beancounter," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 19-44.
    7. Gosselin, Maurice, 1997. "The effect of strategy and organizational structure on the adoption and implementation of activity-based costing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 105-122, February.
    8. Malmi, Teemu, 1999. "Activity-based costing diffusion across organizations: an exploratory empirical analysis of Finnish firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 649-672, November.
    9. Geiger, Dale R. & Ittner, Christopher D., 1996. "The influence of funding source and legislative requirements on government cost accounting practices," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 549-567, August.
    10. March, James G., 1987. "Ambiguity and accounting: The elusive link between information and decision making," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 153-168, March.
    11. Briers, Michael & Chua, Wai Fong, 2001. "The role of actor-networks and boundary objects in management accounting change: a field study of an implementation of activity-based costing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 237-269, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Boland Jr., Richard J. & Sharma, Arun K. & Afonso, Paulo Sérgio, 2008. "Designing management control in hybrid organizations: The role of path creation and morphogenesis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(7-8), pages 899-914.
    2. Samuel Sponem, 2010. "Diversité des pratiques de contrôle budgétaire:approches contingentes et néo-institutionnelles," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 13(3), pages 115-153., September.
    3. Stamatiadis, Filippos & Eriotis, Nikolaos, 2011. "Evolution of the Governmental Accounting Reform implementation in Greek Public Hospitals: Testing the institutional framework," MPRA Paper 28816, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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