Advances in Management Accounting: Volume 26

Cover of Advances in Management Accounting

Table of contents

(15 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Introduction

Pages xv-xvii
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Purpose

This study examines the impact of different Balanced Scorecard (BSC) formats (table, graph without summary measure, graph with a summary measure) on various decision outcomes: performance ratings, perceived informativeness, and decision efficiency.

Methodology/approach

Using an original case developed by the researchers, a total of 135 individuals participated in the experiment and rated the performance of carwash managers in two different scenarios: one manager excelled financially but failed to meet targets for all other three BSC perspectives and the other manager had the opposite results.

Findings

The evaluators rated managerial performance significantly lower in the graph format compared to a table presentation of the BSC. Performance ratings were significantly higher for the scenario where the manager failed to meet only financial perspective targets but exceeded targets for all other nonfinancial BSC perspectives, contrary to the usual predictions based on the financial measure bias. The evaluators reported that informativeness of the BSC was highest in the table or graph without summary measure formats, and, surprisingly, adding a summary measure to the graph format significantly reduced perceived informativeness compared to the table format. Decision efficiency was better for the graph formats (with or without summary measure) than for the table format.

Originality/value

Ours is the first study to compare tables, graphs with and without a summary measure in the context of managerial performance evaluations and to examine their impact on ratings, informativeness, and efficiency. We developed an original case to test the boundaries of the financial measure bias.

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Purpose

We investigate outcomes associated with the turnover of unskilled workers, isolating its effects on revenue, cost, and profit. Little attention from researchers has been given to unskilled workers, a significant portion of the workforce.

Methodology/approach

This study investigates the relation between turnover among unskilled workers and financial performance using data from 527 hotels owned by the same lodging chain. The workers in our sample are full-time housekeepers and front desk attendants.

Findings

We find that the relation between turnover and performance differs by turnover type (voluntary vs. involuntary) and category of unskilled worker, reiterating the need to differentiate between turnover type and the importance of context in studying turnover. We challenge the assumption that voluntary turnover is categorically harmful and our results for front desk attendants support the view that organizations choose turnover levels that maximize performance. We also provide new evidence on the effects of involuntary turnover. Contrary to the established notion that dismissing less able employees should improve performance, we find that involuntary turnover has negative consequences.

Research limitations/implications

Our results demonstrate the importance of distinguishing voluntary turnover from involuntary turnover and the need to include both in models predicting turnover’s performance effects.

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Purpose

This study examines the association between the use of a package of contemporary and a package of traditional management accounting practices with organizational change and organizational performance.

Methodology/approach

Data were collected based on a mail survey distributed to a sample of 740 public sector organizations.

Findings

The findings indicate that while the prevalence of traditional practices is still dominant, such practices were not associated with organizational change or performance. Rather, those organizations that use contemporary management accounting practices to a greater extent experienced greater change and stronger performance.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that contemporary management accounting practices can assist public sector practitioners in improving performance and promoting organizational change.

Originality/value

The study provides an empirical insight into the use and effectiveness of management accounting practices in the public sector. The study provides the first empirical analysis of the effect of using a package of management accounting practices in the public sector.

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Purpose

This paper examines how the management control practices of organization members enable the alignment of product development projects with potentially conflicting corporate strategies during the product development process.

Methodology/approach

Using an ethnomethodology informed research approach, we carry out a case study of an innovative New Zealand food company. Case study data included an internal company document, interviews with organization members, and an external market analysis document.

Findings

Our case study company had both sales growth and profit growth corporate strategies which have been argued to cause tensions. We found that four management control practices enabled the alignment of product development projects to these strategies. The first management control practice was having the NPD and marketing functions responsible for different corporate strategies. Other management control practices included the involvement of organization members from across multiple functions, the activities they carried out, and the measures used to evaluate project performance during the product development process.

Research limitations/implications

These findings add new insights to the management accounting literature by showing how a combination of management control practices can be used by organization members to align projects with potentially conflicting corporate strategies during the product development process.

Practical implications

While the alignment of product development projects to corporate strategy is not easy this study shows how it can be enabled through a number of management control practices.

Originality/value

We contribute to the management accounting research in this area by extending our understanding of the management control practices used during the product development process.

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Purpose

The paper provides an overview of research published in the innovation and operations management (IOM) literature on 15 methods for cost management in new product development, and it provides a comparison to an earlier review of the management accounting (MA) literature (Wouters & Morales, 2014).

Methodology/approach

This structured literature search covers papers published in 23 journals in IOM in the period 1990–2014.

Findings

The search yielded a sample of 208 unique papers with 275 results (one paper could refer to multiple cost management methods). The top 3 methods are modular design, component commonality, and product platforms, with 115 results (42%) together. In the MA literature, these three methods accounted for 29%, but target costing was the most researched cost management method by far (26%). Simulation is the most frequently used research method in the IOM literature, whereas this was averagely used in the MA literature; qualitative studies were the most frequently used research method in the MA literature, whereas this was averagely used in the IOM literature. We found a lot of papers presenting practical approaches or decision models as a further development of a particular cost management method, which is a clear difference from the MA literature.

Research limitations/implications

This review focused on the same cost management methods, and future research could also consider other cost management methods which are likely to be more important in the IOM literature compared to the MA literature. Future research could also investigate innovative cost management practices in more detail through longitudinal case studies.

Originality/value

This review of research on methods for cost management published outside the MA literature provides an overview for MA researchers. It highlights key differences between both literatures in their research of the same cost management methods.

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Purpose

This paper attempts to resolve the conflicting results on sticky cost behavior in prior literature. Large sample studies find that selling, general, and administrative costs (SG&A) and cost of goods sold (CGS) are sticky, that is, costs are less likely to decrease when activity decreases than to increase when activity increases. In contrast, studies limited to one industry find little or no sticky cost behavior.

Methodology/approach

We investigate whether SG&A and CGS sticky cost behavior differ across/ four major industry groups (manufacturing, merchandising, financial, and services) characterized by different production, operational, and economic environments. In addition, we study whether sticky cost behavior arises for all changes in activity level (as measured by revenue changes) or for only large changes in activity level. Finally, we investigate whether determinants of sticky cost behavior vary across industries.

Findings

Our results suggest that costs in the manufacturing industry are the “stickiest,” while costs in the merchandising industry are the “least sticky,” with financial and service industries exhibiting some level of sticky cost behavior. Further, we find that sticky cost behavior is industry-specific, both in the magnitude of activity changes that give rise to sticky cost behavior and in the determinants that drive the behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Our investigation of 20 distinct sub-industries within the “stickiest” manufacturing industry finds that while some sub-industry groupings show significant sticky behavior, most do not. This result may explain why, contrary to large sample studies, single industry studies find little or no sticky behavior in costs.

Originality/value

Our research is the first to try and reconcile the conflicting results on sticky cost behavior. Understanding the pervasiveness of stickiness is necessary to move research forward in this domain.

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Cover of Advances in Management Accounting
DOI
10.1108/S1474-7871201626
Publication date
2016-03-29
Book series
Advances in Management Accounting
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78441-652-2
Book series ISSN
1474-7871