Management Accounting Research: An Analysis of Recent Themes and Directions for the Future

By Harris, Jason; Durden, Chris | Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Management Accounting Research: An Analysis of Recent Themes and Directions for the Future


Harris, Jason, Durden, Chris, Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research


Abstract

This paper reviews some of the most recent published literature in the field of management accounting. 138 articles were examined on management accounting taken from four key journals in order to analyse leading issues and themes in recent management accounting research. The articles were published between 2008 and 2010. This paper contributes to the literature in several ways.

First, it provides a focused analysis of management accounting research published in recent years, allowing researchers to gain a better understanding of the direction of the contemporary management accounting research.

Second, it highlights the emergence of intellectual resource management as a major area of management accounting research. Third, it draws attention to key emerging research themes in the literature including trust, leadership, and organisational justice. Finally, it notes a growing focus on applied research and signs of a narrowing of the gap between accounting research and practice.

Keywords:

Management Accounting Research

Research Classification

Management Accounting Emerging Trends

Intellectual Resource Management

Introduction

The field of management accounting research is dynamic and constantly evolving. Therefore it is beneficial to step back at times and observe the main themes and patterns that are emerging. This paper seeks to do that. The aim is to provide a review of some of the recent literature in the field of management accounting. In order to accomplish this, we examined 138 articles on management accounting taken from four key journals in order to analyse leading issues and themes in recent management accounting research. The articles were published between 2008 and 2010 and appeared in the Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research (JAMAR), Management Accounting Research (MAR), the Journal of Management Accounting Research (JMAR), and Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS). While previous studies have reviewed the management accounting literature over much longer periods (Hesford, et al., 2007; Berry, et al., 2009; Lindquist and Smith, 2009), this paper covers a more concentrated time span and therefore attempts to better capture recent trends in the management accounting field.

This paper contributes to the literature in several ways. First, it provides a focused analysis of management accounting research published in recent years, allowing researchers to gain a better understanding of the direction of the contemporary management accounting research. Second, it highlights the emergence of intellectual resource management as a major area of management accounting research. Third, it draws attention to key emerging research themes in the literature including trust, leadership, and organisational justice. Finally, it notes a growing focus on applied research and signs of a narrowing of the gap between accounting research and practice.

The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. In the following section, the method of the review is set out and a taxonomy presented. Next, the findings of the review are presented. In the discussion and analysis section, analysis of macro trends is followed by general analysis. The final section summarises the paper and outlines limitations and suggestions for future research.

Method

This paper reviews 138 articles on management accounting published between 2008 and 2010 and taken from four key journals: Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research (JAMAR), Management Accounting Research (MAR), the Journal of Management Accounting Research (JMAR), and Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS).

This review of recent literature was an iterative process in which the taxonomy of research themes and issues was developed and refined throughout the review and writing process. Papers were first classified as either management accounting or not management accounting. Where uncertainty existed in this regard, another accounting academic was consulted for input. …

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