Stability and change in management accounting over time – a century or so of evidence from Guinness.

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In recent years, much has been written on the nature of management accounting change, and indeed stability. Many researchers have used concepts such as rules and routines to interpret this change and/or stability. Recent research has provided an increasingly clear picture of what rules and routines are, as well as contributing to our understanding of the processes of change and stability in management accounting.

Management accounting research has mainly presented rules and routines as related phenomena, but some conceptual work has suggested they are separable and can (and possibly should) be considered independently when studying processes of change/stability within management accounting. However, empirical support for such work has been scarce to date. This paper uses data from the archival records of the Guinness company in an effort to establish whether rules and routines, at least in management accounting research, are best considered separable concepts or not. The archival records are artefacts of rules and routines and thus can be used to trace the interactions of rules and routines over time. Support for the notion that rules and routines should be considered separately is presented. The findings also portray the stable, but changing, nature of management accounting routines over time; a point worthy of further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-92
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Issue number1
Early online date08 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Management accounting change; rules; routines

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