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Balancing the scorecard through academic accounting research: opportunity lost?

Balancing the scorecard through academic accounting research: opportunity lost? Purpose – As one of the co‐authors of the first academic research papers published in a major accounting research journal on the subject of the balanced scorecard, the author was asked to reflect on his experiences with research in this area over the last 12 years since that first paper was published. The purpose of this paper is to do this through personal reflection and a literature review. Design/methodology/approach – Employing personal reflection and a literature review, the author examines three issues: what motivated him to start this research program; the way the research program unfolded and its unintended consequences; and finally some reflections on the academic research enterprise as it is practised in North America that are reflected by the unintended consequences. Findings – The author looks at the differences in psychology research traditions and how they shaped the research program on the balanced scorecard into an attempt to “debias” a problem rather than to bring strong human information processing theory to bear on how the scorecard dealt with some of the issues in its application. The author suggests that these different focuses explain how management accounting behavioral researchers lost an opportunity to have greater impact in the development of this performance tool. Originality/value – The paper questions and documents limitations that arise from the reliance on an underlying psychology paradigm that focuses on human limitations, rather than one focused on aiding humans to perform better. It suggests that greater research contributions in management accounting could be obtained if more researchers focused on how management accounting information can be developed that takes advantage of human information processing strengths. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change Emerald Publishing

Balancing the scorecard through academic accounting research: opportunity lost?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1832-5912
DOI
10.1108/18325911211273473
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – As one of the co‐authors of the first academic research papers published in a major accounting research journal on the subject of the balanced scorecard, the author was asked to reflect on his experiences with research in this area over the last 12 years since that first paper was published. The purpose of this paper is to do this through personal reflection and a literature review. Design/methodology/approach – Employing personal reflection and a literature review, the author examines three issues: what motivated him to start this research program; the way the research program unfolded and its unintended consequences; and finally some reflections on the academic research enterprise as it is practised in North America that are reflected by the unintended consequences. Findings – The author looks at the differences in psychology research traditions and how they shaped the research program on the balanced scorecard into an attempt to “debias” a problem rather than to bring strong human information processing theory to bear on how the scorecard dealt with some of the issues in its application. The author suggests that these different focuses explain how management accounting behavioral researchers lost an opportunity to have greater impact in the development of this performance tool. Originality/value – The paper questions and documents limitations that arise from the reliance on an underlying psychology paradigm that focuses on human limitations, rather than one focused on aiding humans to perform better. It suggests that greater research contributions in management accounting could be obtained if more researchers focused on how management accounting information can be developed that takes advantage of human information processing strengths.

Journal

Journal of Accounting & Organizational ChangeEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 26, 2012

Keywords: Balanced scorecard; Management accounting; Behavioural research; Accounting; Auditing; Performance evaluation; Decision making; Management control systems; Performance measurement

References