Empirical Research in Managerial Accounting


Chris Ittner

(Wharton School)

Lausanne, July 2-4, 2007


This course is designed for PhD students and young researchers who would like to extend and deepen their knowledge on current research issues in Managerial Accounting. Topics include behavioural and economic determinants of control system choices, field research, archival research and survey research on performance measurement and the application of alternative theories and research methods to managerial accounting.

The subject draws primarily on theoretical frameworks developed in the economics and behavioural research literature. This literature provides the foundation for analyzing the factors that influence the effectiveness of management accounting systems. Management accounting systems are conceptualized as systems that are designed to serve two roles - the decision facilitating role and the decision control role. We aim to enhance students' ability to assess the functional and dysfunctional effects of management accounting systems in serving these roles.

We also examine the methods used in empirical management accounting research by studying method applications in extant research. This will enable students to critically evaluate, analyse, and criticize both the conceptual and method content of the extant literature. Through these evaluations we aim to enhance students' ability to develop new research questions that increase our understanding of management accounting systems in practice and to utilize appropriate research methods to explore such question.


Introductory Article

Ittner, C.D/Larcker, D.F. (2001), Assessing Empirical Research in Managerial Accounting, in Journal of Accounting and Economics, 2001, p. 349-410