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Mapping management accounting:

graphics and guidelines for theory


consistent empirical research

Presented by
Md. Shamim Hossain
ID: DE201565013

Abstract
This paper provides a summary graphic representation

(maps)of the theory-consistent evidence about the causes


and effects of management accounting, as presented in
275 articles published in six leading journals.
The maps highlight connections and disconnects in the

diverse streams of management accounting literature.


The authors also provide seventeen guidelines for theory-

consistent empirical accounting research.

Introduction
The nine maps represent different streams of research and are

intended to answer three main questions including:

1. What is researched?

-That is, what sets of variables did a study include?


2. What are the direction and shape of the explanatory links proposed?
-management accounting as the effect of organizational
characteristics, management accounting as the cause of
organizational characteristics, or both (Causal Model)
3. What is the level of analysis?
- individual, subunit, organization, or beyond organization.

Criteria for selection of studies


The studies are chosen based on the 5 major criteria:
1. The study appeared in one of the following six journals
before 2002:
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)
v)
vi)

Accounting, Organizations and Society,


Contemporary Accounting Research,
Journal of Accounting and Economics,
Journal of Accounting Research,
Journal of Management Accounting Research
The Accounting Review.

i) These six journals provide a large and representative

sample of the theory-consistent empirical evidence in


management accounting research

Criteria for selection of studies


2. The study provides empirical evidence about

accounting in the management of organizations, not


capital markets, taxation, etc. These organizations
include for profit, not-for-profit, and government.

Criteria for selection of studies


3. The study explains causes or effects of variation in

management accounting.
For example, the study explains causes of variation in
organizations use of more aggregated accounting
information.

Criteria for selection of studies


4. The study provides empirical evidence consistent

with the theory put forward in it.


Sources of empirical evidence include

> Archival data (both quantitative and


qualitative),
> Field and laboratory experiments,
> Field-based and mail surveys, and
> Qualitative case/field studies.

Criteria for selection of studies


5. If some portions of a study met the criteria from 1

to 4 and others did not, the portions that met the


criteria are included and the portions that did not
meet the criteria are omitted.
-For example, if a study explains causes or
effects of management accounting and also nonmanagement-accounting practices, only the results
related to management accounting are included.

(Represent several types of restrictions that appear in


the management accounting literature)

Panel- A: additive

X1
Y
X2
Each independent variable (Xi)ha s an effect on the dependent
variable (Y) that is not conditional on the value of any other X i, and
the value of Xi itself is not conditional on Y or on any other X i

Panel- B: intervening-variable

X1

X2

the effect of X1 on Y occurs on the condition that X1 affects X2 and


X2 in turn affects Y. However, X2 does not affect X1, and Y does not
affect either of the Xis. Moreover, once the value of X2 is
determined, its effect on Y does not depend on X1.

Panel- C: independent-variable interaction

X1
Y
X2
Each Xi has a causal influence on Y.

Panel- D: moderator-variable interaction

X1

M
V

MV
MV (the moderator variable)has no influence on Y in the
absence of X1, as well as no influence on Xi1: its influence
operates only by changing the effect of X1 on Y.

Panel- E:cyclical recursive model

X1.t
X1.t+2

X2.t+1
X2.t+3
2.t+3

X1.t+4
In theis model there is an identifiable time interval between the
change in X1 and the corresponding change in X2, as well as
between the change in X2 and the corresponding change in X1
that follows.

Panel- F:reciprocal nonrecursive model

X1.t

X2.t

the Xis are determined simultaneously or at intervals too short for the causal influences
in different directions to be distinguished empirically

Causal model forms can be further restricted by


1. Linear

2. Curvilinear

If the relation is linear, a one-unit increase in X i leads to a given change (e.g.


a three-unit increase)in Y, regardless of the initial value of X i.
If the relation is curvilinear, however, the effect of a one-unit increase in X i is
conditional on the initial value of Xi (e.g. a one-unit increase in a small Xi
may lead to a three-unit increase in Y, while a one-unit increase in a large X i
may lead to a six-unit increase or a two-unit decrease in Y, depending on the
shape of the curve

Overview of the Maps


The maps serve two purposes:
1. To provide a compact graphic summary of specific
streams of research to enable a rapid tracing of what
has been researched, what theory-consistent
empirical evidence has been reported about a
variable, and what unanswered questions might be
suggested.
2. To identify additional basic issues related to how the
different maps relate to each other.

Constructing maps
Different arrow types are used to identify different

causal relations (e.g. positive versus negative,


additive versus interactive), as described in
Appendix J.

Constructing maps
Some maps include causal links almost exclusively at one level; if more

than one level is included, the map is divided into vertical sectors in
descending order, from beyond-organization variables at the top of the
map to individual variables at the bottom.
Beyond organization
Organization

Subunit

Individual

Constructing maps
Variables that do appear on more than one map are

listed in Appendix K

The social science antecedents for each map are

presented in Figure 2 for all nine maps.

Causal-Model Forms and Levels of Analysis


The authors provide a table showing descriptive statistics on causal-model

forms and levels of analysis and discuss their limitations related to what
can be learned from the studies. For example, The problems identified
include the following:
1. Out of 589 link-study pairs, only 6 were curvilinear rather than linear.
Linear models fail to reveal how a variable's effect may change at different
levels of the variable, e.g., more difficult levels of a budget.
2. The causal direction on the maps is almost always one way or
unidirectional (95%).
3. 89% of the link-study pairs are single-level.

4. 37% of the link-study pairs show management accounting as given, while


others (41%) show only causes but not effects of management accounting,
i.e., show management accounting as a dependent variable.

Guidelines for Theory-Consistent Empirical


Management Accounting Research

What variable are researched (Guidelines 1-4)


Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)
Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

What variable are researched (Guidelines 1-4)

Guideline-

If a practice-defined variable is used, then clearly

define its underlying theoretical propertiesnot only


those that are of particular interest in the current
study, but also other properties that the practice
defined variable is likely to possess.

What variable are researched (Guidelines 1-4)

Guideline-

If a practice-defined variable can represent multiple


theoretical properties, then gather evidence
identifying their separate causes and effects.

What variable are researched (Guidelines 1-4)

Guideline-

If the theoretical property of interest belongs to only a


definable subset of instances of the practice-defined
variable (i.e., some ABC systems), then explicitly
state this limitation.

What variable are researched (Guidelines 1-4)

Guideline-

A variable definition should not include content

irrelevant to the research question and theory used,


or exclude relevant content.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

If theory predicts nonlinearities in the relation


studied, then consider the value of capturing the
nonlinearities.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

If a linear model is used for the sake of simplicity, then


state the resulting limitations explicitly.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

If the causal model proposed is additive, then explain


the reasons for assuming that there are no important
intervening-variable or interaction relations as well
as the consequences of omitting these relationships if
they exist.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

If the causal model proposed is conditional, then state


the type of conditionality, i.e., intervening versus
interacting.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

For interaction models, specify whether the interaction


is ordinal or dis-ordinal.
Ordinal interaction (the lines are nonparallel but do not cross in the range examined in the research
study):
Disordinal interaction (not only are the lines nonparallel, they also cross):

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

10

For interaction models, state whether the interaction


involves only independent variables or independent
variables as well as moderator variables.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

11

If unidirectional causality is assumed, then specify why


bi-directionality is excluded.

Causal model forms (Guidelines 5-12)

Guideline-

12

Align the time frame of the study, i.e., length &


frequency of evidence collection, and the time
required for the cause examined to have an effect,
i.e., the causal interval.

Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

Guideline-

13

Specify whether the variable of interest varies across


individuals, organizations, subunits, or beyond to
entities such as markets and societies.

Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

Guideline-

14

Align the level of theory, level of variable


measurement, and level of data analysis, i.e., what is
examined, source of evidence and unit of data.

Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

Guideline-

15

If theoretical variables at multiple levels affect the


observable measurements, then separate the effects
from the multiple levels.

Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

Guideline-

16

If cross-level effects are


proposed, then use an
interaction causal-model
form, with at least one
interacting variable at
the level of the
dependent variable.

Level of analysis (Guidelines 13-17)

Guideline-

17

If the variation of interest in a variable is variation in


its value relative to a subset of other values in the
sample, then use an individual-within-group-level
model.