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An exploration of the factors affecting the diffusion of Advanced Costing techniques: a comparative analysis of two surveys (1996-2005)


  • Cinquini, Lino
  • Collini, Paolo
  • Marelli, Alessandro
  • Tenucci, Andrea


The issue of cost calculation has been largely debated in the last years under the pressure of the perceived lost of relevance of the so called "traditional cost accounting approaches". The enthusiasm for new management accounting techniques has often driven most of attention towards technical or theoretical aspects of the proposed new cost models. In particular, Activity-Based Costing (ABC) implementation literature pinpoints a large number of studies that have looked at technical and organizational/behavioral factors that influence effective implementation. Recently a great attention has been paid by researchers on the contingent factors affecting the adoption of advanced management accounting techniques and the influence of the variables that drive towards higher levels of cost system sophistication. The need is felt for insightful studies regarding processes and contingent variables working through time in relation with these changes. Improved analysis can be obtained by undertaking replication studies based on larger number of responses and/or across geographic and cultural borders. Whitin the boundaries of a contingent framework analysis, this paper has provided additional insights into areas relating to factors influencing the level of sophistication of product cost systems in Italy. The paper presents the comparison of two survey results carried on in a ten years distance on the same sample of Italian largest companies. These two long-distance surveys provide the opportunity to assess the changes occurred in the companies that in 1996 declared the adoption of (or the interest in adopting) ABC and Target costing (Cinquini et al., 1999).Moreover, the time elapsed could allow the perception about adopters’ behavior, along different stages of the diffusion process of advanced costing techniques. The research findings pinpoint that only “importance of cost information” and “cost structure”, among the contextual variables considered in the more recent survey responses, are positive and significant in relation with increasing in implementation of advanced costing techniques. This outcome could open to further studies to assess whether or not adopters are moving from a “fad and fashion” behavior of the early stages, to a more rational approach in which the matching between management needs and tools potentiality is maximized.

Suggested Citation

  • Cinquini, Lino & Collini, Paolo & Marelli, Alessandro & Tenucci, Andrea, 2008. "An exploration of the factors affecting the diffusion of Advanced Costing techniques: a comparative analysis of two surveys (1996-2005)," MPRA Paper 10911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10911

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. John Brierley & Christopher Cowton & Colin Drury, 2001. "Research into product costing practice: a European perspective," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 215-256.
    3. David J. Teece, 2008. "Technology Transfer By Multinational Firms: The Resource Cost Of Transferring Technological Know-How," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 1, pages 1-22 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Luft, Joan & Shields, Michael D., 2003. "Mapping management accounting: graphics and guidelines for theory-consistent empirical research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 169-249.
    5. Anderson, Shannon W. & Hesford, James W. & Young, S. Mark, 2002. "Factors influencing the performance of activity based costing teams: a field study of ABC model development time in the automobile industry," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 195-211, April.
    6. Chenhall, R. H. & Langfield-Smith, K., 1998. "The relationship between strategic priorities, management techniques and management accounting: an empirical investigation using a systems approach," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 243-264, April.
    7. Chenhall, Robert H., 2003. "Management control systems design within its organizational context: findings from contingency-based research and directions for the future," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 127-168.
    8. 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.
    9. Colin Drury & Mike Tayles, 1994. "Product costing in UK manufacturing organizations," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 443-470.
    10. Kari Lukka & Markus Granlund, 1996. "Cost accounting in Finland: current practice and trends of development," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1-28.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Han-Min Wang & Quang Linh Huynh, 2013. "Mediating Role of Knowledge Management in Effect of Management Accounting Practices on Firm Performance," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology,, vol. 3(3), pages 1-10, June.
    2. David Han-Min Wang & Quang Linh Huynh, 2014. "Linkages Among Corporate Governance,Management Accounting Practice And Organizational Performance: Evidence From A Southeast Asian Country," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 9(1), pages 63-81, March.

    More about this item


    Management accounting innovations; Activity-Based Costing; Target costing; Product costing design; Cost system sophistication; Contingent factors;

    JEL classification:

    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration

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