Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems (JAMIS)

Some considerations about contingency theory as a research framework for management accounting

22/2007 ,  

Nadia ALBU
Cătălin-Nicolae ALBU

Keywords:   contingency theory, paradigm, management accounting research


The most commonly used framework in management accounting research is the contingency theory, which “is essentially a theoretical perspective of organizational behavior that emphasizes how contingent factors [environment, size, technology, etc.] affected the design and functioning of organizations” (Covaleski et al., 1996: 5). The contingency approach to management accounting is based on the premise that there is no universally appropriate accounting system equally applying to all organizations whatever the circumstances. Given the consistency that can be obtained by using the contingency theory, the objective of this study is to analyze the principles of a contingency-based research in management accounting in order to bridge the gap between the organizational theory and management accounting research. The ultimate goal of revising contingency theory is to develop a comprehensive model that includes multiple control types, multiple contingent variables and multiple management accounting techniques. This study is a literature review made to “provide a reasoned basis for selecting promising future research directions” (Ittner & Larcker, 2002: 787). The expected contributions of the study are mainly related to identifying research topics and directions for future contingency-based management accounting research in Romania.