اشکال تناسب احتمالی در پژوهش های حسابداری مدیریت؛ یک بررسی انتقادی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10330||2004||24 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 29, Issues 3–4, April–May 2004, Pages 303–326
Contingency literature in the accounting control area has for a long time been criticized for being fragmentary and contradictory as a result of methodological limitations. A review of 10 articles in the strategy-MAS area adds to this picture by showing that many different forms of fit have been used, and that very few researchers fully acknowledge the difficulties of relating these forms to each other. As a result, some researchers claim that their findings are contradictory when this is not necessarily the case, while others incorrectly argue that their results are strongly supported by previous studies.
Contingency-based research in the accounting control field has a long tradition (Chapman, 1997 and Chenhall, in press). The continuous stream of empirical articles signals the importance and vitality of this research area. However, the state of the art of this research field has been questioned. It has been argued that various factors such as disparate definitions of variables, insufficient data and underspecified models have resulted in a fragmentary and contradictory theory (Dent, 1990, Fisher, 1995, Galunic & Eisenhardt, 1994, Langfield-Smith, 1997 and Otley, 1980). We argue that, in addition to those shortcomings, attention should also be paid to the way the concept of fit has been applied. Our argument is that this stream of research does not differ from contingency research in general, where many different forms of fit have been used and where researchers have not always been aware of the implications of their choice on theory building and testing (see for example, Schoonhoven, 1981 and Venkatraman, 1989). In addition, since some of the conceptualizations of fit used seem not to be comparable (Drazin & Van de Ven, 1985 and Govindarajan, 1988), apparently contradictory or supportive results may have to be reinterpreted. One purpose of this paper is to add to the limited knowledge in this area by examining which theoretical forms of fit have been used in the strategy-MAS literature. A second purpose is to review critically whether comparisons made between findings that are based on different forms of fit are valid. The strategy-MAS area was selected since it represents a stream of research in which various forms of fit have been used. The paper first provides a classificatory framework in which different forms of contingency fit are outlined. The extent to which the different forms can be related to each other is also discussed. Next, 10 works in the strategy-MAS literature with various approaches to fit are briefly described and classified according to the framework. Next, references made in the literature are analysed in terms of whether the various forms of fit used allow comparisons to be made. Finally, the paper is summarized and some conclusions are presented.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of this study was to identify the different forms of fit used in the strategy-MAS area and to explore the extent to which they have been, and can be, related to each other. Our review of 10 studies in the area shows that three studies in the sample were, rightfully, isolated “islands” either because at the date of publication they could not be related to other strategy-MAS studies, or because their specific form of fit could only be related with difficulty to the forms used in earlier studies (see Chenhall & Langefield-Smith, 1998, Khandwalla, 1972 and Miles & Snow, 1978). In the remaining seven articles, either findings were related to other studies based on alternative forms of fit, or several forms of fit were used within the scope of the one article. In two articles, comparisons were made between a Cartesian and a Configuration form of fit ( Govindarajan, 1988 and Simons, 1987). In Govindarajan (1988), the author discussed the different meanings of fit, although we have argued that he did not fully recognize the problems associated with comparing the two forms. In our opinion, it makes no sense to relate results based on a Cartesian form of fit to results based on a Configuration form of fit, since the difference between the two forms is paradigmatic. It stems from the conflict between a reductionistic and a holistic understanding of organizations and their environment. We found four articles where comparisons had been undertaken between a Congruence and a Contingency form of fit. Overall, it was presumed that fit in one form implies fit in the other form. In one article (Simons, 1987), this assumption was verified, but in two articles ( Bouwens & Abernethy, 2000 and Abernethy & Lillis, 1995), it was found that the two forms of fit did not coexist. In the fourth article (Abernethy & Lillis, 1995), the results were mixed. In our view, comparisons between Congruence and Contingency studies may be valuable. As Drazin and Van de Ven (1985) pointed out, some dimensions of organizational design may be adapted to context as the result of macro-switching rules imposed by top management, while other dimensions are the subject of subunit discretion. However, if applied to the same set of variables, we should not expect the two forms to coincide. Rather, the opposite result is consistent and even likely. In the present study, we found four examples where comparisons were made between a moderation and a mediation form of fit ( Abernethy & Lillis, 1995, Bouwens & Abernethy, 2000, Chong & Chong, 1997 and Perera et al., 1997). Since these forms represent competing ways of modelling relationships between variables, only one can be correct in a particular situation. That is, either strategy and MAS are theoretically related concepts (as depicted in a mediation model), or they are not (as implied by a moderation model). If both models give significant results, this should be interpreted as contradictory, not the converse. In two of the articles, comparisons were undertaken between a strength and a form variant of fit ( Abernethy & Guthrie, 1994 and Abernethy & Lillis, 1995). Strength was conceptualized as a significant difference in correlation coefficients between MAS and performance across different strategic types, while form was depicted as a significant interaction term in a moderated regression analysis. In our view, it makes no sense to relate results based on one form to those of the other. The argument is twofold. First, the theoretical implications are very different (see Strength vs. form). Second, there is no reason to expect that results based on the two forms of fit should concur. Again, the sign of the correlation coefficient is an indicator of form in that it depicts the direction of the relationship. However, it must be remembered that a significant correlation between variables does not necessarily imply that the regression slopes differ significantly from zero. The evidence reviewed in this paper shows that very different conceptualizations of fit have been used and that very few researchers fully acknowledge the difficulties of relating different forms to each other. As a result, some researchers claim that their results are contradictory when this is not necessarily the case, while others incorrectly argue that their results are strongly supported by former studies. In our view, the results suggest that future theory building and testing in the accounting control area would benefit if the following two items were considered. First, specify whether a Cartesian or a Configuration approach has been adopted. Our argument is that the differences between these approaches are paradigmatic and, accordingly, references to the existing literature should only be done within each school of thought. If both approaches to fit are included in one and the same study, the research task should be to explore and contrast the predictive power of each approach, rather than to search for complementary information. Second, within the scope of each paradigm, future studies should discuss explicitly whether and how the particular form of fit used can be related to studies that have adopted other forms.