IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Organizational development and transformational learning approaches in process innovations: A review of the implications to the management accounting literature

  • Seleshi Sisaye
  • Jacob G. Birnberg
Registered author(s):

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to apply the organizational learning framework to the management accounting literature to better understand why management accounting innovations succeed or fail in organizations. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework integrating diffusion and organization learning theories is developed. Diffusion theory is used to describe the process whereby the innovation is implemented. Argyris' and Argyris and Schon's theory of organizational learning is used to describe the type of learning – single loop or double loop – required by the innovation. Finally, the works of Attewell, and of Schulz relating to organizational learning, and of Rogers and of Sandberg relating to adoption and diffusion theories, were utilized to identify and understand the potential pitfalls faced by managements implementing an accounting innovation. Findings – The paper advances the notion that an organization's approach to learning and innovation should be of interest to management accounting researchers. The single-loop (incremental/organizational development (OD)) and the double-loop (radical/organizational transformation (OT)) learning influences the adoption (stage one) and diffusion (stage two) strategies that are appropriate for the design and implementation of management accounting innovations. Originality/value – The paper makes an important contribution to the behavioral accounting literature by integrating sociological diffusion and organizational learning behavior literatures and relating them to management accounting research.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Cannot be freely downloaded

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Review of Accounting and Finance.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 337 - 362

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eme:rafpps:v:9:y:2010:i:4:p:337-362
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
    Web: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Robert G. Fichman & Chris F. Kemerer, 1997. "The Assimilation of Software Process Innovations: An Organizational Learning Perspective," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(10), pages 1345-1363, October.
    2. Merchant, Kenneth A. & Van der Stede, Wim A. & Zheng, Liu, 2003. "Disciplinary constraints on the advancement of knowledge: the case of organizational incentive systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 251-286.
    3. Dent, Jeremy F., 1991. "Accounting and organizational cultures: A field study of the emergence of a new organizational reality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(8), pages 705-732.
    4. Banker, Rajiv D. & Lee, Seok-Young & Potter, Gordon, 1996. "A field study of the impact of a performance-based incentive plan," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 195-226, April.
    5. Andrew H. Van de Ven, 1986. "Central Problems in the Management of Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 590-607, May.
    6. Jensen, Richard, 1983. "Innovation adoption and diffusion when there are competing innovations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 161-171, February.
    7. Van de Ven, Andrew R., 1986. "Central Problems in the Management of Innovation," Agricultural Research Policy Seminar 139708, University of Minnesota Extension.
    8. Butel, Lynne & Watkins, Alison, 2000. "Evolving Complex Organizational Structures in New and Unpredictable Environments," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 27-33, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Rui Baptista, 1999. "The Diffusion of Process Innovations: A Selective Review," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 107-129.
    11. 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.
    12. Anderson, Shannon W. & Young, S. Mark, 1999. "The impact of contextual and process factors on the evaluation of activity-based costing systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 525-559, October.
    13. John Bessant, 2005. "Enabling Continuous and Discontinuous Innovation: Learning From the Private Sector," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 25(1), pages 35-42, 01.
    14. Gort, Michael & Wall, Richard A, 1986. "The Evolution of Technologies and Investment in Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 741-57, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:rafpps:v:9:y:2010:i:4:p:337-362. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Lister)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.