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In Search of Management Accounting Theory

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  • Teemu Malmi
  • Markus Granlund
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    Abstract

    In this article we discuss the motivation for and role of theory in management accounting. We argue that theories in an applied field such as management accounting research should provide explanations that are useful for those we study - managers, organizations and society. We evaluate the nature of theories currently used and developed. Those theories that are considered theories by the research community are largely imported from other disciplines, but have hardly anything that makes them unique to management accounting. Those theories that are not currently regarded as theories by many of our colleagues attempt to explain how to apply management accounting to achieve superior performance. We argue that both forms of theories, at present, largely fail to provide valid support for practitioners. We contend that management accounting theory should help us to answer questions of what kind of management accounting systems we should apply, how, in what circumstances, and how to change them. We provide suggestions on how management accounting research could proceed to produce better theories in this regard.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638180902863779
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 597-620

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:18:y:2009:i:3:p:597-620

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/REAR20

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    Cited by:
    1. Olle Westin & Hanno Roberts, 2010. "Interventionist research – the puberty years: an introduction to the special issue," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 7(1), pages 5-12, April.
    2. José Carlos Tiomatsu Oyadomari & Alexandre de Lacerda Pedrique & Diógenes de Souza Bido & Amaury José de Rezende, 2014. "Management Control Use and Decisions in Brazilian Health Organizations:an Exploratory Study," Brazilian Business Review, Fucape Business School, vol. 11(2), pages 1-32, March.
    3. Ivo De Loo & Alan Lowe, 2011. "Mixed methods research: don't – “just do it”," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(1), pages 22-38, April.
    4. García-Unanue, Jorge & Gallardo, Leonor & Felipe, José Luis, 2012. "La factura deportiva. Diseño e implantación de un modelo de cálculo de costes para los servicios deportivos municipales/The Sport Bill. Design and Implementation of a Costing Model for Municipal Sp," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 599-618, Agosto.

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