To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Structuration theory: reflections on its further potential for management accounting research

Alan Coad (Department of Accounting, Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, UK)
Lisa Jack (Portsmouth Business School, Portsmouth University, Portsmouth, UK)
Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif (Department of Accounting and Auditing, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 15 June 2015




This paper aims to examine the potential of strong structuration theory in management accounting research.


The paper explains how the ontological perspective of strong structuration theory extends the work of Giddens and explores how the perspective overcomes a number of the limitations of existing management accounting research based on structuration theory.


Strong structuration theory develops and extends the work of Giddens, providing greater insights into the role of agents, improves our understanding of the diffusion of accounting practices through organisational fields, adds to our knowledge of how artefacts are used in the production and reproduction of organisational life and improves research design.

Research limitations/implications

Strong structuration theory provides clear guidance about management accounting case study research design, and suggests the potential for the accounting research community to engage more actively in debates about the development of structuration theory beyond the work of Giddens.


This paper provides a clear explanation of the ontology of strong structuration theory, its implications for research design and how it holds the potential to overcome many of the limitations of earlier management accounting studies deploying structuration theory.



The authors would like to thank Bob Scapens, Rob Stones, Georgios Makrygiannakis, Elizabeth Warren and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in developing this paper. They also thank Andrew Cartwright for his contribution in editing and proofreading.


Coad, A., Jack, L. and Kholeif, A.O.R. (2015), "Structuration theory: reflections on its further potential for management accounting research", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 153-171.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited