A research study into furthering the understanding of management accounting in practice with specific reference to the practices utilised in the North Derbyshire area of the NCB
The primary purpose of this study is concerned with providing improved understanding of both accounting and management systems through the use of case study based research. To provide this improved understanding, this research study is based upon several key assumptions which are also key conclusions. Firstly, that management and accounting systems and practices exist in organisation contexts. Secondly, that these systems and practices obtain their meaning, in part, from the organisation contexts in which they are situated. Thirdly, that accounting knowledge and management theory, to-date, has failed to provide adequate descriptions and prescriptions for the organisations. Fourthly, that the key problem in accounting knowledge and management theory which has prevented adequate understanding is to do with the ontological issues which underlies such knowledge. The contents of this study can be seen to be divided into three parts. The first outlines the nature of management accounting knowledge paying particular attention to the ontological and epistemological assumptions. Through analysis of these assumptions, the importance of understanding the complexity of social reality is introduced. A model of a 'temporal-spatial' reality is introduced and described. The conclusion from this part is that the main problem in understanding accounting practices is linked with the ontological issues and that a more complex subjective reality needs to be explored. Part two provides the description of the case-study utilised to understand accounting practices in an organisational context. Part three provides an analysis of the use of the management and accounting systems by providing an understanding of the social-reality of the dominant decision-makers within the case-study. The conclusion forthcoming from this study is four-fold and stated in paragraph one. However, these have major considerations to the development of accounting knowledge and require major shifts in the dominant methodology of accounting thought. ix.