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Design of MACS in growth and revival stages of the organizational life‐cycle

Hanna Silvola (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




This study aims to describe and explain the design of management accounting and control systems (MACS) in the growth and revival stages of the organizational life‐cycle of the firm. In addition, it explores how the presence of equity capital investors affects the design of MACS in the case firm in its growth and revival stages.


A case study method is adopted to illustrate the design of MACS in the growth and revival stages. The data are analyzed to describe events in the two organizational life‐cycle stages, which are then compared to identify special features of the design of MACS.


The results show that, in contrast to a growth stage, a revival firm develops MACS for the firm's internal managerial and organizational purposes, such as a more diversified business strategy and more diversified organizational structure, as well as for external reasons, such as a more challenging business environment and investors' requirements. Investors require more detailed management accounting information to know how to get a better return on their investments in a revival stage, while investors ensured that the case firm was only using formal MACS in a growth stage.

Research limitations/implications

The life‐cycle approach is the main perspective in data gathering even though this may bias the data. Therefore, not everything may be observed. Even though Friesen and Miller's life‐cycle model allows firm to be established through a merger of several declining firms, the birth of the case firm differs from a typical birth of the firm. This study is exploratory in nature, suggesting new insights that could be followed up in future research.

Practical implications

The information produced by MACS is, at a minimum, equally important in the revival stage as in the growth stage even though MACS are used for different reasons. Therefore, MACS cannot be used in the same way in the revival stage as in the growth stage.


The study describes and explains the design of MACS by comparing the growth and revival stages, while the accounting literature does not traditionally distinguish between growth and revival stages in this respect.



Silvola, H. (2008), "Design of MACS in growth and revival stages of the organizational life‐cycle", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 27-47.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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