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The Evolution of a Management Accounting Idea: The Case of Beyond Budgeting

Abstract

This paper analyses the evolution of Beyond Budgeting as a theoretical concept and as a phenomenon in practice. We draw from diffusion theory to explain why Beyond Budgeting has not enjoyed the same success as other management accounting ideas, such as Activity- Based Costing or the Balanced Scorecard. Our particular focus is on the way in which the identity of Beyond Budgeting was initially define --namely, as a comprehensive management model rather than as a particular tool or technique. We demonstrate how some proponents of Beyond Budgeting have actively defended this identity and consequently abandoned the label "Beyond Budgeting" because of its misalignment with that identity. Others have distanced themselves from the idea of a full management model, choosing instead to focus on promoting particular components of Beyond Budgeting. Ultimately, neither strategy has fostered diffusion of the concept itself. We use these observations to reflect upon the trade-off between a concept's identity and its plasticity, and we explain why, in some cases, this trade-off may be difficult, or even impossible, to overcome.

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Dates and versions

hal-00655656 , version 1 (01-01-2012)

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  • HAL Id : hal-00655656 , version 1

Cite

Sebastian D. Becker, Martin Messner, Utz Schaffer. The Evolution of a Management Accounting Idea: The Case of Beyond Budgeting. 2012. ⟨hal-00655656⟩

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