Extent and scope of diffusion and adoption of process innovations in management accounting systems

Seleshi Sisaye (Palumbo‐Donahue School of Business, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jacob Birnberg (Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management

ISSN: 1834-7649

Publication date: 8 June 2010



The purpose of this paper is to develop a contingency framework that allows researchers to classify and study management accounting innovation within the context of the literature on the sociology of diffusion and adoption.


The process of innovation in organizations involves two stages: the stages of diffusion and adoption along two dimensions of extent: technical and administrative, and scope: autonomous and systemic. A combination of these two dimensions yields four types of accounting innovations: mechanistic, organic, organizational development, and organizational transformation. Management accounting innovations has been studied using these four innovation typologies.


The paper suggests that management accounting researchers pay particular attention to an organization's approach to diffusion and adoption strategies of innovation, particularly, the extent and scope dimensions when designing and implementing process innovation programs.

Research limitations/implications

The innovation contingency framework developed in this paper facilitates the analysis of two important research questions. First, why have some innovations been readily accepted while other, apparently similar proposed innovations have not? Second, why has a particular innovation succeeded in some firms and failed in others?

Practical implications

The subject of accounting innovations and change are important to managers. Accounting innovations as administrative and technical innovations are intertwined in performance evaluation as well as compensation systems. Accordingly, they are resisted.


The paper's contribution is in the advancement of sociological theories in behavioral managerial accounting. The paper develops a process innovation framework that integrates organizational sociological research in process innovations, particularly in diffusion research.



Seleshi Sisaye and Jacob Birnberg (2010) "Extent and scope of diffusion and adoption of process innovations in management accounting systems", International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 118-139

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: https://doi.org/10.1108/18347641011048110



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