تجزیه و تحلیل هزینه برای قیمت گذاری: بررسی شکاف بین تئوری و عمل
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23368||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7510 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 40, Issue 2, June 2008, Pages 148–160
There has been much discussion over many years of the alleged gap between management accounting theory and practice. Whereas researchers sympathetic to neoclassical economics have sought to rationalise the gap in terms of information economics and have proposed constrained optimisation as the norm, Scapens [Scapens, R.W., 1994. Never mind the gap: towards an institutional perspective of management accounting practices. Management Accounting Research 5, 302–321.] and Ahmed and Scapens [Ahmed, M.N., Scapens, R.W., 2000. Cost allocation in Britain: towards an institutional analysis. European Accounting Review 9(2), 159–204.] have suggested that the old institutional economics framework might better explain management accounting practice. Old institutional economics originated at about the same time as neoclassical economics and in opposition to it. It largely rejects rational optimisation as the basis for much of human behaviour and stresses instead, adherence to custom and rule following. This paper reports on the findings of two cases studies undertaken as part of a programme of case studies, intended to examine the power of the old institutional economics framework to explain the gap between management accounting theory and practice, in the realm of costing for pricing. The paper concludes that much observed management accounting practice is difficult to reconcile with ex ante constrained optimisation, but is explicable in terms of conditioning by various institutions.
Much has been written, over a prolonged period of time, about the alleged gap between the conventional wisdom of the management accounting textbooks, academic/professional journals and management accounting practice. Nowhere has the ‘reality gap’ attracted more attention than in the area of cost analysis for pricing and product mix decisions. The textbooks recommend a decision relevant approach to cost analysis for pricing decisions. Empirical research, on the other hand, has consistently suggested that such an approach is not widely used in practice. The ‘reality gap’ became apparent as soon as accounting researchers began to systematically conduct empirical studies of management accounting practice. Examples of such studies in the UK include Coates et al. (1983) and in the US Gordon et al. (1981). Such studies have been regularly replicated up to the present day, for example, Drury and Tayles (2005). (Full) cost plus pricing appears to be common. Most studies also suggest that demand and competition are often taken into account. However, ‘cost’ as defined by accountants (typically full cost as measured for external financial reporting purposes) was shown to be a very important benchmark in pricing—adjustments in response to demand and competition certainly did not constitute equivalence to the full application of marginalist/incrementalist principles. From the 1980s onwards, the conventional wisdom has also advocated the use of target costing as a way of dealing with increased competition. Survey evidence, however, suggests this approach is not widely used in practice (Drury et al., 1993; Garg, 2003). As recently as 2005, Drury and Tayles attempted to explain management accounting practice in terms of cost-benefit contingencies (i.e., in terms of information economics). Their approach was consistent with the arguments of Demski (1972), Feltham (1972), Demski and Feltham (1976)—drawing on the earlier work of Arrow (1963)—and Horngren (1990), that sophisticated techniques are often costly to implement and the benefits may not justify the costs. They concluded, however, that the contingent variables suggested by theory (e.g., Cooper, 1988) could not satisfactorily explain divergences between theory and practice. The cost-benefit contingency (i.e., constrained optimisation) approach assumes a degree of rationality and consensus that is often not present in group decision-making contexts—in which pricing decisions are often made. Consequently, these authors called for further research, using case studies, to provide insights into why accounting practice differs from accounting theory. 2. Alternative research frameworks Other researchers have suggested that the ‘reality gap’ results from the fact that the world in which management accounting is practised, is different from that of neoclassical economics, on which the conventional wisdom of accounting is based (Scapens, 1994; Ahmed and Scapens, 2000). In this view, either the competitive conditions differ from those assumed by the conventional theory, or the decision-making context differs (or both). The former would include tacit collusion among oligopolistic firms rather than price competition (Tool, 1991). The latter would include group decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity, rather than the ‘rational mode’ of decision-making assumed by neoclassical theory (Stacey, 1996). Group decision-making is different from individual decision-making. In addition to scope for different interpretations of the decision problem, there is likely to be a lack of goal congruence among the group members—each of whom has their own functional responsibilities. Also, there is likely to be an unresolved agency problem between group members collectively as agents and the shareholders as principal. Under such circumstances, the techniques prescribed by the management accounting textbooks may be irrelevant to the needs of managers in practice.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Much of the previous research into cost analysis for pricing and product mix decisions has tended to adopt the positivist view of the world (Ryan et al., 2002). The purpose of such research is to uncover general laws and ideally express them in the form of quantified relationships between variables (Drury and Tayles, 2005 is a good example of this approach). Within this research approach, the only role for case studies is as a source of hypothesis generation (where theory is relatively underdeveloped) for subsequent testing using quantitative methods on large-scale data. Axiomatic to the approach of old institutional economics, is that we are unlikely to be able to explain particular management accounting practices by invoking general covering laws (of the form if X, then Y): particular behaviour cannot be understood or explained outside its specific context—its relation to the social system of which it is a part. In old institutional economics, as in other ‘interpretivist’ approaches, the intention is not to produce statistical generalisations representing general covering laws. Rather, it is to understand or explain behaviour in a particular set of circumstances. The type of generalisation sought is what Ryan et al. (2002) call ‘theoretical generalisation’. With such an approach, case studies are viewed as a method by which theories are used to explain observations. The theories that provide convincing explanations are retained and used in other case studies. Case studies in new or different contexts are used to generalise (i.e., extend) the theory to a wider set of contexts (Ryan et al., 2002). This has been the purpose of the present research programme, with respect to the old institutional economics framework. The approach to costing and pricing in both the cases discussed in this paper is best understood with reference to old institutional economics. This agenda implies the need for further case studies, identifying the rules of the game being followed, the dispositional power reflected in such rules and their origins in terms of environmental ‘institutions’. For institutional theorists, the research objective is to identify those pressures within the environment that lead organisations to incorporate institutionalised activities. To understand accounting practices from this perspective, it is necessary to trace the processes that link accounting with its institutional environment (Miller, 1994). Such research may demonstrate the explanatory power of the old institutional economics framework regarding the practice of management accounting and the ‘reality gap’.