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Is the adoption of Strategic Management Accounting techniques really “strategy-driven”? Evidence from a survey

Cinquini, Lino and Tenucci, Andrea (2007): Is the adoption of Strategic Management Accounting techniques really “strategy-driven”? Evidence from a survey.

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Abstract

Several different approaches to Strategic Management Accounting (SMA) can be found in the literature of management ac counting since Simmonds (1981) coined the term. However, there is a little survey research about SMA practice, with the exception of the studies of Guilding et al. (2000) and Cravens & Guilding (2001).

The paper aims to enrich the fragmented knowledge on t he topic by a contingency research study based on an internet questionnaire survey on Italian companies. The study focuses on the characteristics at the heart of SMA techniques that may help in classifying and grouping them and on the investigation of vari ables that may influence/explain the use of SMA techniques within companies. Company size, industry and strategy (in the sub -dimensions of pattern, mission and positioning) are the variables considered in the exploration.

The findings reveal that SMA techn iques appear to be extensively used. Attribute costing, Customer accounting, Strategic Pricing and Competitive Position Monitoring represent the most widely used SMA techniques. Four features of the pattern of Strategic Management Accounting practice emerg e clearly from the factor analysis: competitor, long run, process and customer orientation. In the correlation analysis only strategic positioning is weakly found to play a contingent role in SMA technique usage, while strategic pattern, strategic mission, company size and industry variables do not provide any results. Such a finding reveal that, surprisingly, SMA techniques adoption doesn't seem to be "strategy -driven".

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