An Overview and Assessment of Contemporary Management Accounting Research in China
45 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2007 Last revised: 20 Nov 2010
This paper reviews 283 management accounting research articles published in 18 major Chinese academic journals from 1997 to 2005. We classify these articles by seven major topic areas, and find significantly different topic mixes between 1997-2001 and 2002-2005. In terms of research method, normative/conceptual papers dominate the sample, followed in descending order by case studies, surveys, field-archival studies, and analytical modeling research. While most of the studies assume a generic setting, there is an increasing focus on specific industries in the later (2002-2005) period. Significantly, about 80 percent of the papers do not have any explicit or detectable application of theory. Among the theory-based articles, finance and economic theories are most often applied. Finally, we find considerable overlap between the topics of research and those considered important by managers.
Overall, this body of work has too many weaknesses - including insufficient application of theory and many methodological limitations - to provide a strong basis for understanding and leading management accounting development in China. Yet there also are glimpses of hope in that the number and proportion of theory-based studies, as well as applications to specific rather than generic settings are increasing over time. Also, researchers seem to be aware of topics which are important to managers. We discuss these factors and suggest directions for the future development of management accounting research in China.
Keywords: management accounting research, China
JEL Classification: M41
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