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Management Accounting and Control Systems: An Organizational and Sociological Approach, 2nd Edition


This book is about the design and working of management accounting and control from an organizational and sociological perspective. It focuses on how control systems are used to influence, motivate, and control what people do in organizations. The new edition is organised into four thematic parts which seek to illustrate, respectively: the nature of Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS), how and why these change, their function and use in practice, and how they are related to general issues of governance in contemporary organisations, economies and society. It includes a new chapter on MACS, Accountability and Governance; adapted and new case studies; adds new theoretical perspectives relevant to current practices, teaching needs and academic development; new material is provided dealing with MACS role in relation to issues of ethics.

Norman B. Macintosh is Professor Emeritus in Management Accounting & Control Systems (MACS) at Queen’s University, Canada.

Paolo Quattrone is Professor of Accounting and Management Control at IE Business School, Madrid.



Part I An introduction to MACS: Issues, cases, and perspectives

1. Issues: Why management accounting and control systems?

1.1 Why are Management Accounting and Control Systems so important?

1.2 What are Management Accounting and Control Systems?

1.3 The structure of the book

2. Cases: Building the empirical basis of the book

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The Society of Jesus

2.3 Wedgwood Potteries

2.4 Empire Glass

2.5 Johnson & Johnson

2.6 Summary and conclusions

3. Perspectives: A toolbox to understand Management Accounting and Control Systems

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Believing in reality: positive faith in individuals, needs and structures

3.3 Believing in relations: relativist faith in interactions, actions, and networks

3.4 Summary and conclusions

Part II MACS: Nature, structures, and modes of control

4. MACS’ nature: information, power and control

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Dealing with power and control

4.3 Relating theories to the empirics

4.4. Summary and conclusions

5. MACS’ structures: market, hierarchies, and systemic controls

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Market vs. hierarchy?

5.3 The metaphor of the system

5.4 Relating theories to the empirics

5.5 Summary and conclusions

6. MACS’ structure and strategy

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Strategy and strategic planning

6.4 Strategy and MACS structure

6.5 Product life cycle, strategy and controls

6.6 Strategy as ideological control

6.7 Summary and conclusions

7. MACS modes of operation

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Closed-rational vs. open-natural systems

7.3 Typologies of controls: Uncertainty, means, and ends

7.4 (…Cont.): Styles of controls

7.5 MACS’s teleologies: From ideals to practice

7.6 (…Cont.): Control as camouflage

7.7. Relating models to the empirics

7.7 Summary and conclusions


Part III MACS in Action:  Issues of change and information technology

8. MACS Change

8.1 Introduction

8.2 What is change? A commonsensical definition

8.3. Perspectives on MACS change: the power of individuals and institutions

8.4 A structuration perspective: change as interplay between structures and actions

8.5 A relational perspective on change: Insights from the Think Pink case

8.6 A-centred organizations and the power of relations

8.7 Summary and conclusions

9. MACS and information technology

9.1 Introduction

9.2 MACS and the distance making controllers and controlled

9.3 MACS, IT and minimalist controls: further insights from the Think Pink case

9.4 Summary and conclusions

Part IV MACS as practices Issues of accountability governance and ethics

10. Making sense of MACS practices

10.1 Introduction

10.2 MACS, governable persons, and power knowledge relationships

10.3 The logic of MACS practice

10.4 Praising numbers as sacred figures: MACS training regimes

10.5 Summary and conclusions

11. MACS, accountability, governance and ethical knowledge

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Governance, and accountability: form societies to ‘socie-ties’

11.3 A tale of two scandals: the failure of internal, institutional and social controls

11.4 In praise of doubt: from the tyranny of transparency to a search for ethical knowledge in accounting, accountability and governance

11.5 Summary and conclusions