The aim of this chapter is to survey developments in the application of organization theory to management accounting research to provide accounting researchers with a basis for designing future research projects that will make useful contributions in this area. The original intention was to examine recent empirical work in organization theory with a view to identifying topics and methods that might be fruitfully applied in management accounting research. However it rapidly became apparent that organization theory is not a coherent body of work but highly fragmented and that it faces many of the same problems as management accounting research. Thus more attention is given to some of the theoretical issues that have arisen in organization theory as they closely parallel issues that are important in the development of management accounting research. Accounting researchers should not assume that organization theory is a well-ordered body of knowledge awaiting application to management accounting, but rather they should be aware that the operation of accounting systems in organizations is a topic of interest in both disciplines and might best be explored in conjunction. My conclusion on completing the survey is that the most important current contribution that could be made is the development of ‘grass roots’ research designed to describe and explain how management accounting is used by organizations in the context of other organizational processes.
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