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The role of management accounting in international entrepreneurship

Christine Mitter (Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Puch, Austria)
Martin R.W. Hiebl (University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 4 September 2017




This paper aims to analyze the role of management accounting in international entrepreneurship. Its role, thus far, has been a neglected topic in research on accounting and international entrepreneurship, although some quantitative findings indicate the positive influence of management accounting on internationalization capability.


This paper is based on a multiple case study of Austrian firms and draws on the resource-based view of the firm as well as effectuation/causation logics. Data for this study were collected via semi-structured interviews, press reports, company chronicles, organizational brochures and websites of the analyzed case firms.


The paper finds that management accounting may indeed serve as a key capability for international entrepreneurship. However, reliance on this capability seems to be contingent on the phase of international entrepreneurship and pathway and mode of internationalization.

Research limitations/implications

The findings add to the accounting literature by showing that the phase as well as the mode and pathway of international entrepreneurship may serve as contingency factors for management accounting, which have been overlooked in the literature. At the same time, they also contribute to the international entrepreneurship literature by offering an initial view on the neglected capability of management accounting.


This is the first study to analyze the role of management accounting in international entrepreneurship.



Research assistance by Sandra Baminger and Florian Wandl is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank Ingrid Hovdar-Stojakovic for her support in language editing. In addition, the authors would like to thank Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller and Sascha Kraus for helpful comments and suggestions on this research project. Many thanks also to an anonymous reviewer for highly valuable comments. All remaining errors are ours.


Mitter, C. and Hiebl, M.R.W. (2017), "The role of management accounting in international entrepreneurship", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 381-409.



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