Does the organizational life cycle affect the Management Accounting System (MAS) change pattern? A review of case studies

Laura Zoni, Marco Morelli, Andrea Dossi

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


The paper critically discusses one of the prescriptions of traditional control literature according to which the MAS should be adaptive to changes in the organizational and strategic context, regardless of the content of change and its organizational nature. Drawing from previous research on accounting change and on the impacts on MAS of stages in the life-cycle, the paper aims at discussing how the MAS change process changes at birth, at growth, at maturity, at revival and at decline in the life of an organization. Using a framework developed by Zoni et al (2012) the paper documents key phases and features of the management accounting change process to highlight its organizational nature in five longitudinal case studies of design and implementation of MAS changes. The field study shows how accounting systems are difficult to change despite the formally acknowledged need for change. The evidence shows that the need for change, the technical feasibility of change, the availability of traditional and contemporary methodologies are –alone- insufficient reasons to change and to stabilize change. Findings highlight that the success of change depends on how effectively organizations managed key phases in the MAS change, which in turn depends on the stage of the organization life cycle. Conclusions posit that in order to manage MAS change successfully the organization would pay more attention to the design phase at birth and at revival and more attention to the implementation phase at growth, at maturity and at decline. Furthermore, we could conclude that the main aim of MAS change spans from selection to variation of MAS along the stages of the life cycle: variations are more frequent at birth and at revival, selections are more frequent at growth and at decline stages.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)7-37
Numero di pagine31
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012




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