Advances in Management Accounting: Volume 11

Table of contents

(18 chapters)

Contents

Pages V-VI
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LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

Pages VII-VIII
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Advances in Management Accounting (AIMA) is a professional journal whose purpose is to meet the information needs of both practitioners and academicians. We plan to publish thoughtful, well-developed articles on a variety of current topics in management accounting, broadly defined.Advances in Management Accounting is to be an annual publication of quality applied research in management accounting. The series will examine areas of management accounting, including performance evaluation systems, accounting for product costs, behavioral impacts on management accounting, and innovations in management accounting. Management accounting includes all systems designed to provide information for management decision-making. Research methods will include survey research, field tests, corporate case studies, and modelling. Some speculative articles and survey pieces will be included where appropriate.AIMA welcomes all comments and encourages articles from both practitioners and academicians.Review Procedures AIMA intends to provide authors with timely reviews clearly indicating the acceptance status of their manuscripts. The results of initial reviews normally will be reported to authors within eight weeks from the date the manuscript is received. Once a manuscript is tentatively accepted, the prospects for publication are excellent. The author(s) will be accepted to work with the corresponding Editor, who will act as a liaison between the author(s) and the reviewers to resolve areas of concern. To ensure publication, it is the author’s responsibility to make necessary revisions in a timely and satisfactory manner.

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INTRODUCTION

Pages XV-XVIII

This volume of Advances in Management Accounting begins with an article by C. J. McNair, Lidija Polutnik, Holly H. Johnston, Jason Augustyn and Charles R. Thomas on shifting perspectives involving accounting, visibility, and management action. The article attempts to determine whether or not the accounting abstraction appears to dominate the manager’s perceptions of the physical reality of the firm’s utilization of its physical assets. The article then looks at whether changes in the accounting abstraction (e.g. the addition of capacity cost management reports and measurements) lead to changes in how managers perceive and use their physical assets. Using a cognitive decision-making structure developed by Wagenaar et al. (1995), this study explores the interplay between the structure and nature of capacity reporting (the surface structure of the decision) and the subsequent analysis and choice of managers within the firm (the deep structure of the decision).

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The objective of the research, and paper, is to determine first whether or not the accounting abstraction appears to dominate the manager’s perceptions of the physical reality of the firm’s utilization of its physical assets, and second, whether changes in the accounting abstraction (e.g. the addition of Capacity cost management reports and measurements) lead to changes in how managers perceive, and use, their physical assets. Using a cognitive decision-making structure developed by Wagenaar et al. (1995), this study explores the interplay between the structure and nature of capacity reporting (the surface structure of the decision) and the subsequent analysis and choice of managers within the firm (the deep structure of the decision). A five-site field research methodology was used to gather data from companies across a multitude of industry contexts and situations. Results suggest that the nature of capacity measurement and reporting does shape manager’s perceptions of current and potential future performance (the cognitive surface structure), with major implications for the nature and type of decisions and trade-offs made (the deep structure). Specifically, managers appear to make decisions that are illogical when considered in light of the physical reality of their operations based on the representations of this reality (e.g. the capacity measures and reports). Analysis and interpretation of these results suggest that what accounting makes visible appears to drive decision-making and performance in organization.

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This study examines the nature of the researchers’ perspectives used in analytical and empirical cost system research published in the 1990s in an attempt to better understand current cost system research. The conceptual framework used for the evaluation is based on the research perspectives that have influenced the selection of different approaches in cost system research in the last three decades and reflects assumptions made in the research models and useful empirical implications.

The taxonomy used in the paper deepens our understanding of current cost accounting research and is argued as relevant on the premise that researchers would certainly care about finding a “better” cost system. A “better” system is defined in this study as the system that would lead to changes in decisions resulting in payoffs that are greater than the costs of implementing the new system.

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Theeuwes and Adriaansen (1994), among others, have asserted that activity-based costing (ABC) is inappropriate for operational decision-making. In this article, ABC is modified to reflect separate flexible and committed cost driver rates for an activity. This enables the model to reflect the difference in the behavior of an activity’s flexible and committed costs needed for operational planning decisions. The modified ABC facilitates determining the resources required to produce the product mix developed from the firm’s strategic plan and the excess capacity that will result. The modifications made to ABC aid in determining an optimal product mix when the firm has excess capacity, while the traditional ABC may not. Equally important, it facilitates measuring the financial implications of the resource allocation decisions that comprise the firm’s operational plan. As the operational plan is implemented, operational control is used to ensure that it is performed in an efficient and effective manner. The modified ABC enables the firm’s managers to compute the different types of deviations that arise from using flexible and committed resources at the unit, batch, and product levels of the firm’s operations. This aids in understanding problematic aspects of the firm’s operations and identifying where management resources are needed to improve operational efficiency.

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Using data collected in 1999 from manufacturing units, this paper reports the results of an investigation into the interactive effect of benchmarking and incentives on manufacturing unit performance. Based on a mail questionnaire sent to a sample of manufacturing units within U.S. electronic industry, the results of this paper provide evidence of significant interaction effect of benchmarking and incentives resulting in product cost improvement and product quality performance.

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Simons (1995b) suggests that most writing on empowerment often fails to recognize that empowerment requires greater control. Accordingly, we investigate the type of control via rewards and punishment systems, which fits best in the context of empowered work teams. Specifically, we hypothesized that empowerment will lead to improvement in manufacturing performance only when rewards are based on group performance, i.e. a situation where the collective benefit of both individual team members and those of the firm are maximized. Utilizing a survey methodology, four compensation types were examined, including fixed pay, fixed+non-monetary incentives, individual-based incentives, and group-based incentives. Results show that the favorable effect of work team empowerment was not observed under fixed-pay, fixed+non-monetary incentives, or individual-based incentives. In many instances, fixed-pay or individual-based incentives interact with work team empowerment to produce a negative effect on manufacturing cost, manufacturing lead time, or non-value-added-activities. On the other hand, manufacturing plants which use group-based incentives were able to reap the benefit of work team empowerment and translate that into enhanced performance.

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This study extends prior research by proposing a more complete model of the process by which budget slack is created in the organization. The research model proposed in this study suggests that there is an ex-ante as well as an ex-post process by which budget slack is created. In the ex-ante process, environmental uncertainty and budget participation are linked to managers’ propensity to create slack through job-relevant information (JRI). In the ex-post process, the control system determines the slack in the final budget by providing information to superiors about a manager’s performance capability. Thus, the propensity to create slack determines actual slack to the extent that the organization’s control system fails to provide an effective assessment of the manager’s performance capability.

Contrary to expectations, the ex-ante model indicated that participation has a direct, negative effect on propensity to create slack. The largest effect on propensity to create slack, however, was a direct positive link from environmental uncertainty. In the ex-post process, the link between propensity to create slack and segment slack (actual slack created) was moderated by the organization’s control system capabilities. When propensity to create slack is low (high), control system monitoring has little (a great) effect on segment slack created. This finding is consistent with arguments that publicly available information about a manager’s performance capability motivates a higher budget standard.

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The traditional product-costing continuum is too limited to account for the new mass customization approach currently used by many corporations in many industries. Mass customization has changed the nature of many transactions, activities and, indeed, the very essence of many manufacturing companies, who have become more of assemblers than manufacturers. These new developments necessitate establishing new way of accounting for proper planning and control. After tracing the development of the mass customization approach from modular manufacturing into common platforms applied in one firm, and then shared by a group of firms, the paper explains the benefits of these approaches to both manufacturers and their suppliers. The central theme of this paper is to develop a product costing system for mass customization. It begins with the traditional product-process matrix in operations management literature and adds to it two elements: firm size and the modular manufacturing method. The rationale for this addition is that modular manufacturing is the best mass customization method; firm size and mass customization are inherently related as indicated by the typical evolutionary pattern of production processes. At this point, the operations management taxonomy is renamed the modular-process matrix; this matrix displays three groups of major activities: manufacturing, supplemental manufacturing, and assembling activities. These three activity groups provide the basis for developing a new set of accounts and a ledger system to account for specific customer orders developed by mass-customization processes.

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Organizations are increasingly reliant on their top management to provide research and development (R&D) units with a strategic focus reflecting changes in their competitive environments. However, little research has specifically explored implications arising from top management involvement in R&D budget setting. This study examines empirically the extent to which such involvement is associated with first, an emphasis on financial factors in setting R&D budgets, and second, with the importance of budget targets for R&D managers. Third, the study evaluates the impact of that involvement on R&D performance evaluation. The results of the research provide evidence of the relation R&D budget setting has to these three factors.

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Prior escalation research (Harrison & Harrell, 1993; Harrell & Harrison, 1994) has supported the prediction that when a project manager has private information and an incentive to shirk (i.e. To protect his/her reputation) he/she will have a greater tendency to continue an unprofitable project than a manager who faces only one or neither of these conditions. Harrison et al. (1999) extended this line of research across cultures to Chinese nationals in Taiwan. The purpose of this paper is to extend the cross-national direction of this line of research by: (1) determining if Mexican nationals who have private information and an incentive to shirk have this same general propensity to continue an unprofitable project when compared to Mexican nationals who experience neither condition, and (2) comparing this general tendency with a sample of U.S. Subjects. The results of this study indicate that the Mexican subjects in the private information, incentive to shirk group also had a tendency to continue unprofitable projects at a rate similar to their U.S. Counterparts. The implications of these results are discussed.

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Using a laboratory experiment, this study investigates agency theory determinants of managers’ adverse selection in resource allocation and an approach to solve agency problems. The results suggest that agents who experience an incentive to shirk, have private information, and/or face less risky sunk costs exhibit a greater tendency to either choose less profitable projects or continue losing projects. Consistent with agency theory predictions, we also found that the tendency to choose less profitable projects and continue losing projects declined when agents were compensated based on a variable (outcome-based) compensation scheme.

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Accounting for quality and improved organizational performance has recently received attention in management control research. However, the extent to which process innovation changes have been integrated into management control research is limited. This paper contributes to that integration by drawing from institutional adaptive theory of organizational change and process innovation strategies. The paper utilizes a 2 by 2 contingency table that uses two factors: environmental conditions and organizational change/learning strategies, to build a process innovation framework. A combination of these two factors yields four process innovation strategies: mechanistic, organic, organizational development (OD) and organizational transformation (OT).

The four process innovation typologies are applied to characterize innovations in accounting such as activity based costing (ABC). ABC has been discussed as a multi-phased innovation process that provides an environment where both the initiation and the implementation of accounting change can occur. Technical innovation can be successfully initiated as organic innovation that unfolds in a decentralized organization and requires radical change and double loop learning. Implementation occurs best as a mechanistic innovation in a hierarchical organization and involving incremental change and single loop learning. The paper concludes that if ABC is integrated into an OD or OT intervention strategy, the technical and administrative innovation aspects of ABC can be utilized to manage the organization’s operating activities.

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This study investigates the critical factors that influence decisions regarding a change in management accounting controls after implementation of electronic data interchange (EDI). A field study of 235 small businesses was conducted, using hierarchical regression to test Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behavior. The results indicate that attitude and stakeholder perceptions influenced decisions, although management had no immediate plans to modify controls. Firm size and accounting system complexity also affected decisions. Surprisingly, limited financial and human resources were not influential.

Small business executives may be unwilling to modify controls because they may not fully understand the risks when accounting systems and/or business practices are changed. This situation may have a serious impact on businesses and their trading partners. It is cause for concern because of the predicted growth of electronic commerce. By demonstrating the link between emerging control issues and system design, owners and managers may be more likely to respond to third party concerns.

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DOI
10.1016/S1474-7871(2003)11
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Management Accounting
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-84950-207-8
Book series ISSN
1474-7871