The organizational context of accounting

  • Jacob G. Birnberg
  • Lawrence Turopolec
  • S. Mark Young


It is our contention that accountants have typically sought to reduce uncertain situations into a framework characterized by well structured tasks and highly measureable outputs. We review the literature on budgetary and organizational control in the light of this argument. Furthermore, we describe the many kinds of behaviors that can result from the efforts of subordinates to distort the information system to their desired ends when they find themselves operating outside the structured and measureable framework.


Organizational Context Transfer Price Task Characteristic Account Research Organizational Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Argyris, C., The Impact of Budgets on People (Controllership Foundation, 1952).Google Scholar
  2. Baiman, S. & Demski, J., Variance Analysis Procedures as Motivational Devices, Management Science (August, 1980), pp. 840-848.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, S. & Green, D., Jr. Budgeting and Employee Behavior, The Journal of Business (October, 1962), pp. 392-502.Google Scholar
  4. Berliner, J.S., A Problem in Soviet Business Administration, Administrative Science Quarterly (1956), pp. 86-101.Google Scholar
  5. Bower, J., Managing the Resource Allocation Process (Harvard G.S.B.: Cambridge, 1970).Google Scholar
  6. Bruns, W.J. & Waterhouse, J.H., Budgetary Control and Organization Structure, Journal of Accounting Research (Autumn, 1975), pp. 177-203.Google Scholar
  7. Burchell, S., Clubb, C., Hopwood, A.G., Hughes, J. & Nahapiet, J., The Role of Accounting in Organizations and Society, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1980), pp. 5-27.Google Scholar
  8. Carter, E.E., The Behavioral Theory of the Firm and Top-Level Corporate Decision, Administrative Science Quarterly (December, 1971), pp. 413-428.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, M., March, J. & Olson, J., A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice, Administrative Science Quarterly (1972), pp. 1-25.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, D.J., Hayes, D. & Wolf, F., Accounting in Organized Anarchies: Understanding and Designing Accounting Systems in Ambiguous Situations Accounting, Organizations and Society (1981), pp. 175-192.Google Scholar
  11. Daft, R.L. & Macintosh, N.B., A New Approach to Design and Use of Management Information, California Management Review (Fall, 1978), pp. 82-92.Google Scholar
  12. Dalton, M., Men Who Manage, (New York: Wiley, 1959).Google Scholar
  13. Demski, J.S. & Feltham, G.A., Economic Incentives in Budgetary Control Systems, The Accounting Review (April, 1978), pp. 336-358.Google Scholar
  14. Dermer, J., Management Planning and Control Systems (Irwin, 1977).Google Scholar
  15. Dopuch, N., Birnberg, J. & Demski, J., Cost Accounting (2nd ed.; New York: Harcourt, 1974).Google Scholar
  16. Evans, H., Optimal Contracts with Costly Conditional Auditing, Journal of Accounting Research Supplement (1980), pp. 108-128.Google Scholar
  17. Feldman, M.S. & March, J.G., Information in Organizations as Signal and Symbol, Administrative Science Quarterly (June, 1981), pp. 171-186.Google Scholar
  18. Ferris, K.R., A Test of the Expectancy Theory of Motivation in an Accounting Environment, The Accounting Review (July, 1977), pp. 604-615.Google Scholar
  19. Flamholtz, E., Organizational Control Systems as a Management Tool, California Management Review (Winter, 1979), pp. 50-59.Google Scholar
  20. Foran, M.F. & DeCoster, D.T., An Experimental Study of the Effects of Participation, Authoritarianism, and Feedback on Cognitive Dissonance in a Standard Setting Situation, The Accounting Review (October, 1974), pp. 751-763.Google Scholar
  21. Golembiewski, R., Accountancy as a Function of Organization Theory, The Accounting Review (1964), pp. 333-341.Google Scholar
  22. Gordon, L.A. & Miller, D., A Contingency Framework for the Design of Accounting Information Systems, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1976), pp. 59-69.Google Scholar
  23. Granick, D., Management of the Industrial Firm in the U.S.S.R. (New York Columbia University Press, 1954).Google Scholar
  24. Hayes, D.C., The Contingency Theory of Managerial Accounting, The Accounting Review (January, 1977), pp. 22-39.Google Scholar
  25. Hedberg, B. & Jönsson, S., Designing Semi-Confusing Information Systems for Organizations in Changing Environments, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1978), pp. 47-64.Google Scholar
  26. Hofstede, G.H., The Game of Budget Control (London: Tavistock, 1968).Google Scholar
  27. Holstrum, G.L., The Effect of Budget Adaptiveness and Tightness on Managerial Decision Behavior, Journal of Accounting Research (Autumn, 1971), pp. 268-277.Google Scholar
  28. Hopwood, A.G., An Empirical Study of the Role of Accounting Data in Performance Evaluation, Journal of Accounting Research Supplement (1972), pp. 156-163.Google Scholar
  29. Hopwood, A.G., Accounting and Human behavior (Haymarket Publishing, 1974).Google Scholar
  30. Ijiri, Y., Theory of Accounting Measurement (S.A.R. §10) (A.A.A., Sarasota, FL, 1975).Google Scholar
  31. Kerr, S., On the Folly of Rewarding A While Hoping for B, Academy of Management Journal (Dec, 1975), pp. 769-783.Google Scholar
  32. Lawler, E., Motivation in Organizations (Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 1973).Google Scholar
  33. Lowe, E.A. & Shaw, R.W., An Analysis of Managerial Biasing: Evidence from a Company’s Budgeting Process, Journal of Management Studies (1968), pp. 304-315.Google Scholar
  34. Mechanic, D., Sources of Lower Participants in Complex Organizations in New Perspectives in Organization Research, Cooper, W., Leavitt, H. & Shelley, M. (eds). (Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1964).Google Scholar
  35. Milani, K., The Relationship of Participation in Budget Setting to Industrial Supervisor Performance and Attitudes: A Field Study, The Accounting Review (April, 1975), pp. 274-284.Google Scholar
  36. Morgan, G., Paradigms, Metaphors and Puzzle Solving in Organization Theory, Administrative Science Quarterly (1980), pp. 605-622.Google Scholar
  37. Otley, D.T., Budget Use and Managerial Performance, Journal of Accounting Research (Spring, 1978), pp. 122-149.Google Scholar
  38. Otley, D.T., The Contingency Theory of Management Accounting: Achievement and Prognosis, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1980), pp. 413-428Google Scholar
  39. Ouchi, W.G., The Relationship Between Organizational Structure and Organizational Control, Administrative Science Quarterly (March, 1977), pp. 951-1113.Google Scholar
  40. Ouchi, W.G., A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms, Management Science (September, 1979), pp. 833-848.Google Scholar
  41. Ouchi, W.G. & Jaeger, A.M., Type Z Organization: Stability in the Midst of Mobility, Academy of Management Review (1978), pp. 305-314.Google Scholar
  42. Perrow, C., Organizational Analysis: A Sociological View (Wadsworth: Belmont, 1970).Google Scholar
  43. Pondy, L. & Birnberg, J., An Experimental Study of the Allocation of Financial Resources within Small Hierarchial Task Groups, Administrative Science Quarterly (1969), pp. 192-201.Google Scholar
  44. Prakash, P. & Rappoport, A., Information Inductance and Its Significance for Accounting, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1977), pp. 29-38.Google Scholar
  45. Read, W., Factors Affecting Upward Communication at Middle Management Levels in Industrial Organizations, unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1959.Google Scholar
  46. Ridgway, V.F., Dysfunctional Consequences of Performance Measurement, Administrative Science Quarterly (September, 1956), pp. 259-268.Google Scholar
  47. Rockness, H.O., Expectancy Theory in a Budgetary Setting: An Experimental Examination, The Accounting Review (October, 1977), pp. 893-903.Google Scholar
  48. Ronen, J. & Livingstone, J.L., An Expectancy Approach to the Motivational Impacts of Budgets, The Accounting Review (October, 1974), pp. 671-685.Google Scholar
  49. Roy, D., Efficiency and The Fix, American Journal of Sociology (1954), pp. 255-266Google Scholar
  50. Roy, D., Quota Restriction and Goldbricking in a Machine Shop, American Journal of Sociology (1955), pp. 427-442.Google Scholar
  51. Schiff, M. & Lewin, A., Where Traditional Budgeting Fails, Financial Executive (1968), pp. 57-62.Google Scholar
  52. Schiff, M. & Lewin, A.Y., The Impact of People on Budgets, The Accounting Review (April, 1970), pp. 259-268.Google Scholar
  53. Searfoss, D.G. & Monczka, R.M., Perceived Participation in the Budget Process and Motivation to Achieve the Budget, Academy of Management Journal (December, 1973), pp. 541-554.Google Scholar
  54. Simon, H., Guetzkow, H., Kozmetsky & Tyndall, Centralization and Decentralization in Organizing the Controllers Department (The Controllership Foundation, 1954).Google Scholar
  55. Spicer, B. & Ballew, V., Management Accounting Systems and the Economics of Internal Organization, Working Paper (C.B.A., University of Oregon, 1980).Google Scholar
  56. Stedry, A.C., Budgeting and Employee Behavior: A Reply, The Journal of Business (April, 1964), pp. 195-202.Google Scholar
  57. Stedry, A.C. & Kay, E., The Effects of Goal Difficulty on Performance: A Field Experiment, Behavioral Science (November, 1966), pp. 459-470.Google Scholar
  58. Swieringa, R.J. & Moncur, R.H., The Relationship Between Managers’ Budget Oriented Behavior and Selected Attitude, Position, Size and Performance Measures, Empirical Research in Accounting: Selected Studies (1972), Supplement to Journal of Accounting Research 10, pp. 194-209.Google Scholar
  59. Swieringa, R.J. & Moncur, R.H., Some Effects of Participative Budgeting on Managerial Behavior (National Association of Accountants, N.Y.; 1974).Google Scholar
  60. Tannenbaum, A., Control in Organizations: Individual Adjustment and Organizational Performance, in Management Controls: New Directions in Basic Research Bonini, C.P., Jaedicke, R.K. & Wagner, H.M. (eds.) (McGraw-Hill: New York; 1964).Google Scholar
  61. Thomas, A., A Behavioral Analysis of Joint Cost Allocation and Transfer Pricing (Stipes Publishing Company, 1980).Google Scholar
  62. Thompson, J. & Tuden, A., Strategies, Structures and Processes of Organizational Decision, in Comparative Studies in Administration, Thompson, J.D. et al., (eds.) (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1959).Google Scholar
  63. Wall Street Journal, Heinz Profit Juggling Probe is Finished by Auditors, but other Proceedings Loom, November 23, 1979, p. 8.Google Scholar
  64. Waterhouse, J.H. & Tiessen, P., A Contingency Framework for Management Accounting Systems Research, Accounting, Organizations and Society (1978), pp. 65-76.Google Scholar
  65. Weick, K., The Social Psychology of Organizing (1st edn.; Reading MA; 1969), Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  66. Weick, K., The Social Psychology of Organizing (2nd edn.; Reading, MA; 1979), Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  67. Wilensky, H., Organizational Intelligence (Basic Books: N.Y.: 1967).Google Scholar
  68. Williamson, O., Markets and Hierarchies: An Analysis and Antitrust Implications (Free Press: Glencoe, 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob G. Birnberg
    • 1
  • Lawrence Turopolec
    • 1
  • S. Mark Young
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations