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Management accounting and management control in family businesses: Past accomplishments and future opportunities

Daniel Senftlechner (Institute of Management Control and Consulting, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria)
Martin R. W. Hiebl (Institute of Management Control and Consulting, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 2 November 2015

7022

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to comprehensively review the empirical literature on management accounting and control in family businesses and to identify future research avenues. Academic interest in the field of management accounting and control in family businesses has increased considerably during the past decade. Family businesses constitute a unique organisational form that apparently faces a lower degree of information asymmetry compared to non-family businesses. In turn, this may limit their need for management accounting and control systems. However, recent reviews of accounting in family businesses have not yet comprehensively reviewed the literature on management accounting and control. The present paper aims to close this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

This review follows the guidelines proposed by Tranfield et al. (2003) for conducting a systematic literature review. This paper has identified 33 relevant articles, which were scanned for findings on the antecedents, configurations and outcomes of management accounting and control in family businesses.

Findings

Management accounting and control seem to be generally less relevant to family businesses than to non-family businesses. This review suggests, however, that this finding is true primarily for smaller firms, not for larger firms. In family businesses, mutual trust, family-specific goals and the centralisation of power emerge as important antecedents of management accounting and control, but they are also affected by the use of management accounting and control instruments.

Research limitations/implications

This paper identifies a need for more research concerning institutionalisation and the instruments of management accounting and control in family businesses. Future studies on this topic should include more demographic characteristics to isolate the family effect from other corporate governance effects, as this has been disregarded by most extant studies.

Originality/value

This paper is the first comprehensive review to provide a synthesis of the literature on management accounting and control in family businesses.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Norbert Kailer and Helmut Pernsteiner for helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper. They also acknowledge highly valuable suggestions by two anonymous reviewers, which helped to significantly improve the paper. Eventually, the authors thank Ingrid Abfalter for outstanding support in language editing.

Citation

Senftlechner, D. and Hiebl, M.R.W. (2015), "Management accounting and management control in family businesses: Past accomplishments and future opportunities", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 573-606. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAOC-08-2013-0068

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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