افتتاح جعبه سیاه تبادل اطلاعات حسابداری مدیریت در روابط خریدار و فروشنده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10134||2012||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 61–78
The purpose of this paper is to explain the reasons why collaborating firms “open their books” and share management accounting information. We investigate the effect of variables related to the tasks and relationships of single individuals of the partner firms (i.e., task interdependence and analysability, team interdependence and relationship duration) on open book accounting (OBA). Our model controls for firm-level variables (i.e., asset specificity, degree of economic dependence, contract presence, contract comprehensiveness, and firm size) known to influence management accounting information exchanges. By using social network analysis (SNA), the data collected from a fashion firm and its entire set of suppliers shows that the quantity of management accounting information is positively related to task interdependence while having an inverted U-shape relation with the duration of the relationship. In addition, it provides evidence of a positive association with task analysability, whereas we find no relation with team interdependence. The analysis also confirms the importance of firm-level factors in explaining the exchanges of management accounting information. Our conclusions have important implications for the design of OBA in inter-organisational relationships.
Over the last few years, the collaboration between firms has emerged as an important business trend. One important theme related to the functioning of these collaborative relationships is the need for “information openness”. To this end, research is investigating the use of the so-called open book accounting (OBA) consisting of management accounting information exchanges between firms to support inter-organisational action (e.g., Cooper and Slagmulder, 1999, Cooper and Slagmulder, 2004, Degraeve et al., 2000, Dekker, 2003, Ellram and Siferd, 1998, Ittner et al., 1999, Shank, 1989, Shank and Govindarajan, 1992, Widener and Selto, 1999 and Wouters et al., 2005). Management accounting information is here intended as the financial and non-financial information used by managers to cope with coordination and control issues (Bouwens and Abernethy, 2000). Previous research has generally concentrated on the variables that facilitate the use of OBA mainly at the firm level. For example, Kajüter and Kulmala (2005) concentrate on the firm size and the hierarchical nature of the relationship between the collaborating entities. Other studies ( Berry and Rondinelli, 2000 and Tomkins, 2001) focus on the long-term commitment of firms to the relationship. Still others focus on the existence of asset specific infrastructure, degree of economic dependence between collaborating organisations, duration of the contract and the number of contractual partners ( Axelsson et al., 2002, Carr and Ng, 1995, Dekker, 2003, Kulmala, 2002, Seal et al., 1999, Tomkins, 2001 and Hoffjan and Kruse, 2006). The firm-level perspective neglects the effect of the characteristics of the specific tasks and activities carried out by individuals at the collaborating firms and some features of their relationships on activating open book accounting. There is a call for research to open the black box of inter-organisational relationships and their underlying management accounting information exchanges by focussing on the specific relationships activated by individuals and not simply on “average relationships” (Dekker, 2003). Our study responds to this call by investigating the effect of some micro variables – related to the tasks and relationships of single individuals of the partner firms (i.e., task interdependence and analysability, team interdependence and relationship duration) – on open book accounting. Our model controls for firm-level variables (i.e., asset specificity, degree of economic dependence, contract presence, contract comprehensiveness, and firm size) known to influence this practice. We include the perspectives of both the buyer and suppliers and collect data from all individuals involved in the inter-organisational management accounting information exchanges related to a specific manufacturing network ( Caglio and Ditillo, 2008 and Caglio and Ditillo, 2012). OBA is conceptualised here as the systematic exchange of management accounting information between legally independent business partners beyond corporate borders that would otherwise be kept secret1 (Hoffjan and Kruse, 2006, Kajüter and Kulmala, 2005 and Mouritsen et al., 2001). Following Hoffjan and Kruse (2006) and Lamming (1993), we examine one key dimension of OBA, i.e., the degree of “openness” or level of transparency operationalised as the amount of management accounting information disclosed between collaborating entities. This dimension, i.e., amount (otherwise labelled as “precision” (Kulp, 2002) and “level of detail” (Gerdin, 2005a)), is derived from the MAS literature (Bouwens and Abernethy, 2000, Chenhall and Morris, 1986 and Mia and Chenhall, 1994).2 By using social network analysis (SNA), the data collected from 14 managers of a fashion firm and 43 managers of 18 suppliers (a total of 350 relationships) show that task interdependence has a positive relationship with the quantity of management accounting information while having an inverted U-shaped relation with the duration of the relationship, as expected. It also shows that, contrary to our expectations, task analysability has a positive association whereas we find no relation with team interdependence and the quantity of inter-organisational management accounting information exchanged. In line with our expectations, firm size has a positive relationship with the quantity of inter-organisational management accounting information exchanged. Contrary to our hypotheses, asset specificity and economic dependence have a negative relationship with management accounting information, while contract presence has a positive relationship and contractual comprehensiveness has a non-significant effect. Our conclusions have important implications for the design of management accounting information flows in inter-organisational relationships. The design based on standard criteria identified with reference to an “average” task and a “typical” relationship between individuals of the collaborating firms can have potential negative effects in terms of effectiveness and efficiency of management accounting information flows. Without considering the specific characteristics of the tasks and the relationships among interacting individuals, the risk is that the quantity of management accounting information is too high to control certain tasks (generating problems of efficiency) and too low to control others (generating problems of effectiveness). In addition, the lack of consideration of the duration of the relationship between individuals may result in unnecessary and thus costly levels of openness and formality in the management of the inter-organisational relationships.3 Only by considering that collaborating firms are intertwined in a complex network of differentiated tasks and individuals’ relationships is it possible to develop a customised network of management accounting information flows to control inter-organisational interaction efficiently and effectively. The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 2 introduces our model and hypotheses development. Section 3 describes the study and the method adopted to analyse data. Section 4 describes the results of our empirical analysis and Section 5 discusses and interprets the findings. Finally, we summarise our contribution to OBA.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our work extends prior literature by examining the nature of the relationships between individuals within buyer and seller firms. We focus on the interdependencies among the ‘boundary spanners’ as it is these relationships that will determine the amount of management accounting information used to collaborate effectively. We also incorporate into our model some previously analysed firm-level variables as controls. Our study advances our understanding of OBA. Firstly, this paper offers an alternative explanation for the exchanges of management accounting information. At the same time, it adds complexity to the models of information exchanges that have been used so far to investigate control issues in inter-organisational relationships, such as those, for example, based on transaction cost economics at the firm level. By considering the individuals’ perspective, our work tries to broaden the typical typology of explanatory variables to include additional categorisations of motives for exchanging management accounting information. Secondly, this is the first quantitative study on OBA to empirically test the effect of various determinants on the amount of management accounting information exchanged at an inter-organisational level. Thirdly, our work provides extensive and pervasive evidence of the exchanges of management accounting information between a buyer firm and its entire set of suppliers. Previous contributions on the topic have considered OBA often only from the point of view of the buyer firm. This has concealed the other partners’ concerns about potential opportunistic uses of management accounting information, and it may have distorted the perception of usefulness of open book accounting. Furthermore, the literature has concentrated mainly on dyadic relationships, neglecting that inter-firm relationships are often nested within a wider network of relationships, and thus has underestimated the influence of the network on the exchange of management accounting information. This study overcomes these limitations and provides evidence of OBA, considering both the focal firm perspective and that of all its counterparts. It investigates pervasively all management accounting information exchanges taking place within an entire network. By using social network analysis to elaborate our data, the risk of bias from the partiality of perspectives and unit of analysis is kept at a minimum. Finally, in terms of managerial implications, this study suggests that the exchange of management accounting information cannot be totally relegated to formal and IT-based mechanisms because the active participation of individuals in the exchange can foster additional openness that is beneficial to the management and maintenance of the inter-organisational relationship. Following this line of reasoning, our findings show the relevance of some additional variables, such as the duration of the relationship, which might cause the investment in formal mechanisms for the sharing of management accounting information to be unnecessary and thus too costly. Our work also questions the possibility that corporate management defines information exchanges based on contingency factors at the level of the firm as a whole rather than on particular contexts faced by individuals. In other words, the amount, frequency, and scope of management accounting information exchanges cannot be imposed on individuals interacting with external partners; instead, design variations should be adopted for different inter-organisational relationships. Furthermore, our evidence can contribute to the debate on the role of accounting professionals in networked forms of organisation, suggesting that accounting knowledge needs to become more and more widespread and “networked” among those actors that operate at the boundaries of organisations. In this respect, the existence of multiple boundary spanners that are vital for activating and managing inter-organisational management accounting information seems to challenge the idea of a unique gatekeeper of “sensitive” accounting information. While this study advances our understanding of OBA in networks, it is not without limitations, which can however be used to guide future research. On the theoretical side, we concentrate on the control role of management accounting information. Additional research could concentrate on the decision-making role pertaining to this type of information, which could lead to very different associations at the individual and firm-level factors investigated in this work. On the empirical side, we acknowledge the specificities of the context analysed, which reflects a small informal network. Our findings and conclusions need to be extended to and verified in larger and formal settings. On the methodological side, although social network analysis provides powerful responses to the investigation of networks, it is necessary to address some of the limitations of conventional statistics when studying interdependent observations. It should be mentioned that some SNA tools have only been developed recently and various issues concerning their use are still being debated. Concerning the data side, we do not see any specific reason why our findings could not be extended to other industries or countries. However, we suggest the replication of this study in other contextual settings before generalizing our conclusions.