IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Legitimacy and Identity in Germanic Management Accounting Research


  • Martin Messner
  • Calbrecht Becker
  • Utz Schaffer
  • Christoph Binder


The notion of 'Controlling', as it is commonly used in German-speaking countries, may be regarded as an equivalent term for management accounting. At the same time, there have been considerable efforts to establish Controlling as a discipline on its own, rather than to regard it simply as the German synonym of management accounting. This is reflected in many writings on Controlling which have tried to identify a possible 'core' or 'essence' of the subject. In this paper, we argue that this identity discourse may be interpreted as a strategy of Controlling researchers to achieve cognitive and sociopolitical legitimacy of their discipline. Drawing on interview material as well as publication and citation analyses, we show how various institutional pressures and constraints not only influenced the institutionalization of Controlling as an academic discipline but also impacted the form and substance of Controlling research. This raises some important questions for our understanding of academic disciplines more generally, some of which we address in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Messner & Calbrecht Becker & Utz Schaffer & Christoph Binder, 2008. "Legitimacy and Identity in Germanic Management Accounting Research," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 129-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:17:y:2008:i:1:p:129-159
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180701819808

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Guenther, 2013. "Conceptualisations of ‘controlling’ in German-speaking countries: analysis and comparison with Anglo-American management control frameworks," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 269-290, February.
    2. Jürgen Weber, 2011. "The development of controller tasks: explaining the nature of controllership and its changes," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 25-46, September.
    3. repec:spr:busres:v:10:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s40685-017-0046-y is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Cathérine Grisar & Matthias Meyer, 2016. "Use of simulation in controlling research: a systematic literature review for German-speaking countries," Management Review Quarterly, Springer;Vienna University of Economics and Business, vol. 66(2), pages 117-157, April.
    5. Utz Schäffer, 2013. "Management accounting research in Germany: from splendid isolation to being part of the international community," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 291-309, February.
    6. Ladislav Šiška, 2013. "The Relation between Controllership and Managerial Accounting," Český finanční a účetní časopis, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(3).
    7. Julie Demaret & Jérôme Meric, 2013. "La Constitution De La Legitimite Des Controleurs De Gestion : Une Etude Exploratoire," Post-Print hal-00991887, HAL.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:17:y:2008:i:1:p:129-159. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.