Table of contents(20 chapters)
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This volume of Advances in Management Accounting (AIMA) begins with a article by Bryant-Kutcher, Jones, and Widener on the issues involving strategic human capital.
Economic theory posits that production factors that are both difficult to imitate and capable of creating organizational efficiencies can generate economic rents and sustain long-term competitive advantage. Using survey data for 106 firms, we measure four dimensions of strategic human capital and find that the market values strategic human capital that has the capability to create efficiencies in the organization and is also difficult for competitors to imitate. We discuss implications for the reporting of human capital in intellectual capital reports and offer suggestions for future research.
The pressure to remain competitive in a dynamic, global economy forces organizations to consider the results-based approach when deciding on investments in information technology (IT). Senior IT managers are convinced that they do create value and believe that if measured properly and with adequate support, they would be significant profit centers for their organizations. However, without adequate performance evaluation systems they have difficulties proving the value-adding role of IT and find themselves continually fighting for and justifying the resources that are needed. The article provides a model and a methodology for evaluating performance in IT to help chief information officers (CIOs) better justify and evaluate their initiatives and aid CEOs and CFOs in making better resource allocation decisions. The IT Contribution Model and the subsequent IT Payoff Methodology is illustrated by and empirically tested in Istrabenz Group, an international group engaged in food, investments, tourism, and energy. The study shows that the methodology's requirement for active employee involvement in the identification of the critical drivers of success, the expected outputs of the IT initiative, in particular, substantially facilitates the IT initiative implementation by increasing the level of understanding and acceptance.
This article addresses purchasing decisions and the use of total cost of ownership (TCO) information. TCO is based on a monetary quantification of nonfinancial attributes and aggregation into a summary measure (such as cost per hour, per wafer, or per kilometer). From an accounting point-of-view, one intricate issue is the accuracy of the monetary quantification and how this affects decision-making. We distinguish three different kinds of inaccurate monetary quantification, and we investigate the weight that decision makers attach to attributes that are inaccurately monetarily quantified and subsequently included in TCO information. Specifically, we investigate whether this weight depends on reflective thinking and experience. This question is relevant beyond TCO, for all decision-making situations that involve monetary quantification of attributes and subsequent aggregation, such as in activity-based costing, net present value calculations for capital budgeting decisions, or cost-benefit analyses in public administration.
We found support for the hypothesis that reflective thinking increases the weight decision makers attach to the attribute that is included as a minimum cost in the TCO-numbers, but not for the hypothesis that reflective thinking would reduce the weight attached to the attribute that is included as a maximum cost in the TCO-numbers. Students and practitioners differed significantly in the weight they attached to an attribute that was excluded from the TCO-numbers, and practitioners gave less weight to such attributes. Together these results suggest that TCO-numbers should be provided with care and possible inaccuracies should be clarified.
There has been concern expressed in the financial press and focus established in the accounting literature over rising levels of executive compensation. Individuals on the compensation committee, a sub-committee of the board of directors, collectively determine executive compensation and are responsible for maintaining the pay-for-performance standard, a concept that warrants further attention. This study examines the process of exaggeration of a group decision over individual beliefs and the impact of leadership upon a committee's outcome when making compensation awards. In an experiment with 98 subjects role-playing as compensation committee members, results show that in a committee of individuals where a coterie and a majority belief is present, group polarization occurs and the compensation results are exaggerated as compared to individual beliefs. The findings also suggest, though, that the appointment of a leader as chair of the committee, either in the majority or minority view, has a moderating effect on the group outcome. These results highlight and add to the literature the potential for agency costs in the group decision process that may be found in the executive compensation-setting environment.
This article looks at the alignment of performance management system with the strategy, structure, and organizational outcome in Canadian health care organizations. In this study, balanced scorecard is the framework adopted for assessing the health care organization's performance management system (PMS) and outcome. CEO and clinical unit managers were surveyed for their perceptions on their organization's strategy, autonomy structure, PMS, and organizational performance. Path analysis was the methodology used in examining the relationship about the above organizational variables. The results indicate that patient satisfaction is the primary and most significant perspective of the depicted balanced scorecard in organizational performance. Patient satisfaction and research criteria, on the other hand, are the significant perspectives of a balanced scorecard in an organization's PMS, which are linked to strategy, autonomy structure, and organizational performance. Moreover, the results show that the strategy/structure links operated as suggested. Surprisingly, strategy on service innovation has a negative impact on the organizational outcome of patient satisfaction. Uncertainty from continuous development and organizational change in pursuing service innovation and cost-cutting measures in response to fiscal constraints are plausible explanations of the adverse impact reported.
The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) emphasizes on the of information system to track a limited number of balanced metrics (measures and indicators) that are closely aligned with organization's goals. This study investigates how system integration in different forms is related to the success of using the BSC for performance measurement. The use of a BSC in performance evaluation is considered in five contexts: determining cost, measuring efficiency, ensuring quality and customer satisfaction measure, promoting continuous innovation and monitoring contract negotiation. The findings indicate that system integration defined in the study positively relates to the success of using the BSC in all five decision perspectives. The findings conclude that hospitals need a streamlined, information integration across the continuum of care to better assess the operation results, in both organizational and technical perspectives.
This article contributes to the fuzzy logic application literature in accounting by examining a key issue in the use of fuzzy logic: how to find an optimum number of classes to minimize the decision maker's cost. Two costs are assumed: (1) we assume fuzziness is costly and thus should be minimized and (2) we assume that adding categories is costly. In order to address the issue of finding the optimal number of classes, we define the objective function as being cost minimization. We seek to determine the costs and benefits of increasing the number of classifications and ask whether an internal optimum is identifiable and achievable. We assume, ceteris paribus, less fuzziness is preferable to more fuzziness, but fuzziness can only be reduced through the use of more categories whose creation is costly. More fuzziness is costly, but so is the creation of additional categories to alleviate the fuzziness. When we arrive at the optimal number of clusters that corresponds to a minimal total cost, that number may not be the same as the “natural” number of categories. It is, nonetheless, a useful and practical way of deciding on the number of classifications. The approach we employ in this study is not confined to a management accounting information environment. It can be applied to any information environment where measurable classifications exist.
Budget decision-makers are forced at times to assign budgets that deviate substantially from budget participants’ requests. In these instances, budget participants likely interpret their budgetary involvement as lacking influence and perhaps as pseudo-participative. This experimental study examined two situational factors that may affect perceptions of pseudo-participation: budget favorability (receiving a much better or much worse budget than requested) and disclosure of budget intention (the decision-maker discloses or does not disclose a preliminary budget before the budget decision, with the final budget exactly matching the preliminary budget). As hypothesized, budget participants had a self-serving tendency to discount pseudo-participation as the cause of low influence when they received a favorable budget. However, contrary to a hypothesized effect, budget participants did not have a self-serving tendency to inflate pseudo-participation as the cause of low influence when they received an unfavorable budget. Instead, they formed strong, unbiased pseudo-participation perceptions. Also contrary to a hypothesized effect, the budget decision-maker's disclosure of an intended budget, which should have provided clear indications of an insincere request for budget input, did not increase perceptions of pseudo-participation. Budget outcomes that indicate low influence may evoke such strong perceptions of pseudo-participation as to override other information that suggests pseudo-participation.
This study aims to provide an integrated view of performance measurement systems (PMS) by developing a taxonomy reflecting the interdependencies among various PMS aspects. This study aims to move the study of PMS from a cartesian form of contingency fit to a configuration form. More specifically, the following research question is investigated in this study: To what extent do similar patterns across various dimensions of PMS occur with regularity? Using a survey approach to collect data from a sample of manufacturing firms, this study aims to develop a taxonomy based on three aspects of the PMS process, namely the design (i.e., the mix of financial, customer, internal processes, innovation and learning measures), the use (i.e., monitoring, strategic decision-making, attention-focusing, legitimization), and the revision (i.e., the addition, deletion, and changes in performance indicators). Three patterns of relationships reflecting the role and importance of PMS within the organization emerge: (a) PMS as an outcomes surveillance mechanism, (b) PMS as a management support tool, and (c) PMS as an institutionalized organizational process. This study contributes to the management accounting literature by providing a different understanding of the various levels of integration of PMS within organizational routines.
Three structural properties of accounting commonly embedded in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are examined in a two-period principal-agent model. These structural properties are conservation of income, consistency, and selective recognition. The article illustrates that these properties are essential for the use of accounting information in management performance evaluation: they are necessary conditions for an accounting mechanism to be more efficient than a direct revelation mechanism. The trade-off between the gain from the information revelation and the incentive cost of discretion determines whether contracting is more efficient under the accounting mechanism or under the direct revelation mechanism.
The deciding factor for operating a governmental project either as an independent, self-supporting municipal enterprise insulated from political influence or as a special revenue fund financed by tax levies is whether the amount of revenue generated covers the operating costs of the project. Cost allocation issues play an important role in this decision since the development of an acceptable user charge requires calculations of the full-cost per unit of service. If not properly understood and applied, these issues can produce unfair rates, which in turn may lead to wars between the city government and the communities it serves.
To understand the role of cost allocation in developing fair rates for a municipal enterprise's services, this article selects the most common public unity, the municipal water and sewer services, in particular, the Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD). DWSD is one of the largest municipal enterprises in the United States and many of its pricing practices are typical of those followed by many cities in the United States. After presenting and illustrating the current DWSD's cost allocation and pricing procedures to highlight the unfair pricing incidents, the article proposes a modification to the current system that avoids these unfair pricing issues.
At the time of its demise in 2001, the Enron Corporation could boast of its comprehensive, state-of-the-art management control and governance systems. Yet these controls were rendered ineffective in the company's last few years. This article identifies the radical change in Enron's corporate culture that took place from the Lay-Kinder era (1986–1996) to the Lay-Skilling era (1997–2001). It argues that this was a major cause of neutralizing these controls, which in turn proved to be a major factor in Enron's fall into bankruptcy. The article draws on Schein's (1993, Legitimating clinical research in the study of organizational culture, Journal of Counselling and Development, 71, 703–708; 1996, 2004) framework of cultural practice to develop our analysis. Thus, it supports Simon's (1990, 1995) urging to more meaningfully include corporate culture in management control research studies. The article contributes to the literature by drawing attention to the rich but untold story of Enron's governance and control and also extends the research linking corporate culture and control systems.