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Exploring notions of control across cultures: a narrative approach


  • Tobias Scheytt
  • Kim Soin
  • Thomas Metz


It can be argued that the concept of control is one of the most important and yet complex notions of management accounting theory and practice. Despite its importance, it is not fully understood in terms of its significance in an international context. Using an interpretive approach and against the background of structuration theory, this paper explores and identifies differences in notions of control across European cultures. The empirical research is based on samples of narratives of personal experiences taken from respondents in four European countries: Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The results indicate that control is influenced by, and deeply embedded in, the cultural context of the respective countries. This has implications for the transfer of management accounting and control knowledge across different European countries and suggests that one has to be aware of the existence, meaning and significance of the differences and characteristics of the regional culture. In an era of internationalization and standardization, this paper responds to calls (Hopwood, 1999) for research, which emphasizes the importance of attempts to understand how the practices of management accounting and control are differentiated in relation to regional cultures.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Scheytt & Kim Soin & Thomas Metz, 2003. "Exploring notions of control across cultures: a narrative approach," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 515-547.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:12:y:2003:i:3:p:515-547 DOI: 10.1080/0963818032000103015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hall, C. & Hamao, Y. & Harris, T.S., 1992. "A Comparison of relations Between Security Market Prices, Returns and Accounting Measures in Japan and the Unites States," Papers 92-36, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    2. repec:bla:joares:v:31:y:1993:i::p:183-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:joares:v:38:y:2000:i:1:p:1-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Barth, Mary E. & Beaver, William H. & Landsman, Wayne R., 1998. "Relative valuation roles of equity book value and net income as a function of financial health," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-34, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vassili Joannides & Danture Wickramasinghe & Nicolas Berland, 2012. "Critiques On Gray-Hofstede'S Model: What Impact On Cross-Cultural Accounting Research?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00690933, HAL.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9497 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christoph Endenich & Michael Brandau & Andreas Hoffjan, 2011. "Two Decades of Research on Comparative Management Accounting – Achievements and Future Directions," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 21(4), pages 365-382, December.
    4. Englund, Hans & Gerdin, Jonas & Burns, John, 2011. "25 Years of Giddens in accounting research: Achievements, limitations and the future," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 494-513.
    5. Vassili Joannides & Danture Wickramasinghe & Nicolas Berland, 2012. "Critiques on gray-hofstede’s model: what impact on cross-cultural accounting research?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-01661667, HAL.

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