Management accounting change: Critical review and a new contextual framework

Nizar Mohammad Alsharari, Robert Dixon, Mayada Abd El Aziz Youssef

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to introduce and discuss a new contextual framework to explain the processes of management accounting change in various organizations. Design/methodology/approach - Having an institutional perspective, the paper develops a "conceptual contextual framework" of management accounting change. The methodology to accomplish this theory building consists of an integration of a number of different works summarizing the common elements, contrasting the differences and extending the work in some fashion. Particularly, it draws on theoretical triangulation by adopting three approaches: old institutional economics for internal processes and factors (Burns and Scapens, 2000); new institutional sociology for external processes and pressures (Dillard et al., 2004); and power and politics mobilization (Hardy, 1996). Findings -The proposed framework provides an understanding of the complex "mixture" of interrelated factors that may influence management accounting change at multi-institutional levels: political and economic level, organizational field level and organizational level. Research limitations/implications -The framework extends institutional theory-based management accounting research as well as provides a comprehensive basis for examining dynamics of accounting in the institutionalization process. Through further research, the framework will be extended and refined. Practical implications - The paper has practical implications for practitioners and officers as well as for the accounting profession and academics alike. Originality/value - The proposed contextual framework provides insights into the processes of change by focusing attention on the underlying institutions that encode accounting systems or practices in three institutional levels: political and economic level, the organizational field level and organization level. Examining the tension between institutionalized beliefs and values that may occur between these three levels of institutions will enhance our understanding of management accounting change in organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-502
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Accounting and Organizational Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2015


  • Accounting and organizational change
  • Institutional theories
  • Management accounting change
  • Management accounting change processes
  • Management accounting practices
  • Organisational change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Strategy and Management


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