Limitations and possibilities of understanding the use of management accounting practices by Institutional Theory perspectives

Robson Zuccolotto, Gustavo Melo Silva, Magnus Luz Emmendoerfer


The proposal of this essay is to reflect on the use of concepts of the human and social sciences as approach and analysis methods in accounting research, especially in management accounting. It starts presenting dialogues between accounting studies and the institutional theory, as the approach of the Old Economic Institutionalism (OEI) which encompasses the so called state of the art or mainstream of the studies in the accounting area, mainly in Brazil. Moreover, it is discussed the scope and usefulness of the institutional theory in explaining the sociological and political perspectives on accountability, addressing possible limits and inconsistencies in the studies conducted so far. Furthermore, it is also shown the perspectives of studies in accounting by understanding the institutional phenomenon in organizational decision made with sociological theoretical contributions. Finally, it is concluded that national and international research aiming to contribute to the accounting theory, mainly on the organizational dynamics of change and use of management accounting practices, try to understand the institutionalization of the accounting tools. However, inappropriate theoretical background, as the approach of the OEI, is used, promoting no fully understanding of the institutionalization of management accounting practices by organizations. Therefore, there is a need for a research agenda to relate the institutionalization of accounting practices in the light of both economic and organizational sociologies.

Key words: management accounting, accounting theory, institutional theory, institutionalism, critical accounting.


ISSN: 1984-8196 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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