Article | Accounting, Organizations and Society | 2000

The Consequences of Customization on the Use of Management Accounting Systems

by J. Bouwens and Margaret A. Abernethy


The understanding of the antecedent conditions influencing the design of management accounting systems (MASs) is very limited. In recent years, significant research attention has been devoted to understanding how different strategic priorities influence these systems. However, the results of these studies have been, at best, equivocal and numerous calls have been made for further research to "unravel" the conflicts that have emerged in the literature. The purpose of this study is to examine not only the relation between strategy and MAS but also to develop a theoretical model to explain how and why this relation exists. The model draws on Galbraith [Galbraith, J. (1973). Designing complex organisations. Reading: Addison-Wesley] to develop a theoretical argument concerning the inter-relations among customization, interdependence and MAS. We are particularly interested in assessing whether the relation between customization and MAS is a direct one or whether the relation operates via interdependence. The results indicate that customization affects MAS via interdependence, rather than directly. The study of 170 production and sales managers further revealed little difference in MAS use between production and sales managers facing similar amounts of customization or interdependence.

Keywords: Organizational Design; Management Systems; Accounting; Customization and Personalization;


Bouwens, J., and Margaret A. Abernethy. "The Consequences of Customization on the Use of Management Accounting Systems." Accounting, Organizations and Society 25, no. 3 (April 2000): 221–241.