A Focus on ‘Control’: Reconciling Contemporary Transaction Cost Economics with Behavioural Contingency Accounting Perspectives

Sarah A. Hinchliffe


Transaction cost economics and contingency research in managerial accounting currently are approached largely as two formally distinct fields of study.  This brief review paper aims to reconcile the literature on both subjects in so far as possible, by examining broadly their underlying assumptions and reported conclusions with the view towards identifying differences and similarities.  An important integration is achieved by showing that transaction cost economics and the ‘decision influencing’ role of management accounting concentrate essentially on different aspects to a shared concern with organisational control.  However, it additionally is revealed that transaction cost economics does not account adequately for the existence of management accounting’s ‘decision facilitating’ function, and that in comparison to the former the latter’s relatively stronger empirical focus is more suited towards finding potential solutions to the actual control problems which confront real organisations.  The paper concludes by observing that both paradigms presently to a large extent do not pay attention to a particular principal-agent situation in which control may need to be exercised.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/afr.v8n2p189


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