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Strategic interventions of management accountants: everyday practice of British and German brewers


  • Thomas Ahrens


A popular stereotype has it that German firms are somehow 'long-term strategically oriented' and British firms focus on short-term financial gain. Analysing ethnographic material from British and German brewers, this paper explores how management accountants in the two countries conceive of their relationship with processes of strategic formulation and how they seek to mobilize strategic arguments in their day-to-day contacts with operational management. The focus of this study is not on the strategy debates which one might expect among senior management, but on routine interaction between management accountants and managers in which the mundane events of organizational life are made to happen in the name of loftier 'strategic' priorities. From observations of such interaction and management accountants' reflections on them, contrasting ways of integrating management accounting expertise with operational knowledge of the firm are suggested for the British and German brewers studied. Those contrasts are developed by drawing on the relationship between time and the possibility for strategic intervention more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Ahrens, 1997. "Strategic interventions of management accountants: everyday practice of British and German brewers," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 557-588.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:6:y:1997:i:4:p:557-588
    DOI: 10.1080/09638189700000001

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    Cited by:

    1. Sèna John-Ahyee, 2012. "La stabilité des activités des contrôleurs de gestion est-elle paradoxale?," Post-Print hal-00690976, HAL.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14570 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Oriol Amat & John Blake & Philip Wraith, 1999. "Environmental factors giving rise to variations in national management accounting practice," Economics Working Papers 432, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    4. Oriol Amat & John Blake & Ester Oliveras, 1999. "Variations in national management accounting approaches," Economics Working Papers 415, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    5. Flavius-Andrei GUINEA, 2016. "Study regarding the impact of cultural factors on management accounting systems," The Audit Financiar journal, Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania, vol. 14(144), pages 1359-1359.
    6. 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.
    7. Alnoor Bhimani, 2002. "European management accounting research: traditions in the making," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 99-117.
    8. Brandau, Michael & Endenich, Christoph & Trapp, Rouven & Hoffjan, Andreas, 2013. "Institutional drivers of conformity – Evidence for management accounting from Brazil and Germany," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 466-479.
    9. Jérémy Morales, 2012. "Le projet professionnel des contrôleurs de gestion : analyser des données pour aider les managers à prendre des décisions rationnelles," Post-Print hal-00690934, HAL.
    10. 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.
    11. Andreas Hoffjan & Rouven Trapp & Christoph Endenich & Thomas Boucoiran, 2012. "International budgeting—challenges for German-French companies," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-25, September.
    12. Marc Bollecker, 2007. "Les Publications Europeennes Et Americaines Sur Les Contrôleurs De Gestion : Un Essai De Synthese," Post-Print halshs-00522301, HAL.
    13. Lukas Goretzki, 2013. "Management accounting and the construction of the legitimate manager," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 319-344, February.
    14. repec:eee:aosoci:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:44-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Morales, Jérémy & Lambert, Caroline, 2013. "Dirty work and the construction of identity. An ethnographic study of management accounting practices," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 228-244.
    16. repec:eee:aosoci:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:36-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Kakkuri-Knuuttila, Marja-Liisa & Lukka, Kari & Kuorikoski, Jaakko, 2008. "Straddling between paradigms: A naturalistic philosophical case study on interpretive research in management accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 267-291.

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