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Management Accounting in Less Developed Countries

Management Accounting in Less Developed Countries:
What We Know and Need to Know*
Trevor Hopper
University of Manchester, Stockholm School of Economics, and Victoria
University of Wellington
Mathew Tsamenyi
University of Birmingham
Shahzad Uddin
University of Essex
Danture Wickramasinghe
University of Manchester
* The authors wish to thank the Research Foundation of the Chartered Institute of
Management Accountants for funding that made this paper possible.
Research on accounting in less developed countries (LDCs) has grown considerably over
the past twenty years. This is welcome for often such work has been marginalized and
labelled esoteric despite most people living in LDCs. Their accounting needs and
concerns are as pressing – if not more so – as in rich countries. Moreover, LDCs form
part of the mosaic of world trade and rich countries can learn from them, for example on
poverty reduction and reconciling ethnic tensions. The growth of LDC research may be
due to the globalization of capital markets and competition; structural adjustment
programmes (SAP) involving privatisation and new public sector management (NPM);
newer less Western-centric accounting journals; the diaspora of accounting scholars from
LDCs to rich countries; and Western PhD programs that encourage candidates to conduct
indigenous research.
However, no review of management accounting systems (MAS) research in LDCs exists,
apart from introductions to special editions of journals (Alawattage, et al., 2007; Hopper
and Hoque, 2004). Previous reviews, notably Jaggi (1973), Samuels (1990), Wallace
(1990), Needles, (1994, 1997), and Rahman, et al. (1997) focus on financial accounting
but touch on MAS issues. Needles (1994) classified research from 1965 to 1990 by
country, methodology, and subject over five-year periods but just 3 of the 100 papers are
MAS. Needle’s second review (1997) of International Journal of Accounting Research
articles from 1965 to 1996 found only 6 of 126 were MAS: five deductive and
descriptive, and one empirical. The lack of a MAS review may leave new entrants
ignorant of issues, methodologies, theories and conclusions in this field, hence the
motivation for this paper that endeavours to give voice to LDC concerns, stimulate
interest in the area, debate fruitful ways forward, and improve policies and practices.
The paper proceeds by discussing the working definitions of management accounting,
development, and LDCs that governed the selection of articles, followed by an analysis
of their distribution by countries, topics and research methods. Second, our preferred
theoretical framework work is outlined and used to analyse extant research. The paper
concludes with a summary of discoveries to date and discusses future research needs.
Defining development, less developed countries, and management accounting
MAS has a role within development: for example state central planning requires iterative
budgeting between state organs and enterprises, and current market-based policies are
predicated upon private interests fostering more efficient controls. However, research and
practice must extend beyond private interests to incorporate development aims and
indigenous values, be multi- and inter-disciplinary, and be epistemologically eclectic.
This requires a broader conception of accounting than normally found in mainstream
research (although the latter has potential for studying LDCs). Hence it is unsurprising
that many researchers of LDCs turn to alternative methods, theories, and approaches.
Rigidly drawing boundaries around accounting is dangerous. We make no apologies for
digressing beyond conventional MAS definitions for development issues need open,
imaginative, problem-based approaches that span disciplines and forms of accounting.
We became mindful of insights into MAS from financial accounting research in LDCs,
their interdependence, difficulties of demarcating between each, and their common
susceptibility to social and economic milieu. Hence our conception of MAS embraces
social, political and economic factors bearing on processes, structures and information for
decisions, control and accountability within organisations affecting development aims.
This brought arbitrary exclusions; for example social and environment accounting in
LDCs (see Gray and Kouhy, 1993).
Defining a LDC is fraught and problematic: poverty may not universal within a country
and development rates vary, can be discontinuous, and poverty is not unique to LDCs.
Nevertheless, a LDC is characterised by poverty - indicated by low per capita income,
capital formation and value added. The UNDP’s Human Development Index measures
life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living: development is not merely an
economic phenomenon but includes issues like environmental degradation, child welfare,
quality of life, citizen empowerment, and governance. At one extremity of LDCs are socalled "failed states" with dictators unconcerned with development, sometimes
undergoing long-term civil wars or lacking the rule of law, and at the other extremity lie
“newly industrialized countries” with more advanced economies but lacking some
developed country attributes. Most countries lie within these dimensions. This review had
difficulties determining which countries constituted an LDC, especially relatively rich
candidates like Middle East oil states, which were excluded as unrepresentative though
research there was sparse (exceptions are on MAS in Gulf petrochemical countries by AlKhater and Innes (2003); budget participation, information asymmetry, budget emphasis,
budget attitudes, and budgetary slack in a large Bahrain company (Joshi, 2002); and
internal audit in Saudi Arabia (Al-Twaijry et al., 2003)). Ex-communist countries in
transition were also excluded [see special issue of Management Accounting Research
(2002, V.13, N.4) and Research on Accounting in Emerging Economies (supplement 2,
2004)] as they are often relatively affluent, sometimes lie within Western political and
economic systems, and have a legacy of Western institutions under revival. However, we
included China (excluding Hong Kong) as it still contains considerable poverty, has
grown from a low economic base, is non-Western, and has material apposite to other
LDCs. Had appropriate papers from poorer, ex-communist countries like Albania or
Kazakhstan been found they would have been included. Nevertheless, MAS issues in
LDCs and transitional economies bear similarities, so this review may contain insights
for the latter.
The journals searched covered Abacus; Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability
Journal; Accounting and Business Research; Accounting, Organizations, and Society;
Accounting Review; Advances in International Accounting; British Accounting Review;
Critical Perspectives on Accounting; Journal of Accounting Research; Journal of
Business Finance and Accounting; International Journal of Accounting; Journal of
International Financial Management; Journal of Accounting and Organisational Change;
Journal of Management Accounting Research; Management Accounting Research;
Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management; and Research in Third World
Accounting (now Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies). Other known
relevant papers were included but our search is not exhaustive as it excludes journals not
in English, from LDCs, outside accounting (especially development studies and public
administration), and government and aid institution reports. All warrant future
72 empirical papers fell within our remit (see Appendix 1). Their geographical coverage
is broad though apart from China no country has sustained research. They reveal a
preoccupation with control in SOEs and privatisation (full or partial) (see Appendix 2 which includes papers in appendix 1 plus less empirical reviews). Papers were not
classified between SOEs and privatised companies because often they overlapped both.
This orientation is understandable given the dominance of state led economic
development based on industrialisation through SOEs, and subsequent turns to market
oriented policies involving privatisations. However, the few papers on multi-national
organisations (MNOs) and large indigenous companies were a surprise. Whether it was
due to the journal search parameters or negligible MAS problems (unlikely given our
review later) is unknown. We found governmental MAS papers at both state and local
levels, and more would have materialised had public administration and development
studies journals been searched. We were disappointed at the small number of papers on
agriculture; non governmental organisations (NGOs); indigenous companies, especially
small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); and micro-organisations including
households, domestic industry, sole traders, and peasant agriculture. However, work is
emerging on these areas.
The classification of papers by research methods (see Appendix 3) revealed a strong
preference for case studies rather than quantitative statistical work. Even the latter (about
half) incorporated fieldwork, normally interviews, usually to inductively derive key
variables for testing rather than relying on instruments from research in developed
countries. The case studies were not differentiated further as they frequently triangulated
data and methods. Interviews and documentary analysis were the most common methods:
observational, participation observation, and action studies were scarce and only one
experiential study was found - significantly from a World Bank consultant researcher,
which reflects the poor dialogue between accounting researchers and development
practitioners, unlike development studies. Case studies have been innovative, for example
see Davie’s (forthcoming) reflections on an ethnography of accounting in Fiji, and Kim
(forthcoming) on contemporary feminist and postcolonial writings criticising oral history
for re-enforcing Western ideologies about race/ethnicity, gender and class.
The few statistical studies, unlike financial accounting research in LDCs and
development economics, may be attributable to MAS research being exploratory, the
paucity of published data on internal accounting systems, researchers’ orientation to the
social and political, and difficulties of obtaining reliable responses given subjects unused
to and suspicious of surveys. The desk and documentary studies category contains
heterogeneous papers ranging from literature reviews to documentation studies, normally
from government and aid agencies. The latter are vital but neglected information sources:
despite their practice or policy hue they often give valuable insights.
Theorising management accounting in LDCs
Appendix 4 reveals that many papers had no explicit central theory, being problem-based,
pragmatic or reviews. Only 3 were based in economics and 4 in development
economics/studies, and then often only loosely so. The lack of economics will be
discussed later. There was a smattering of social psychology papers with little sustained
commonality: 12 followed research on accounting and performance measurement
(RAPM) and contingency theory approaches (several in combination with institutional
theory), and 3 followed public administration traditions.
Grounded/ethnographic/hermeneutic studies identifying cultures and their interaction
with MASs predominated, perhaps due to concerns to avoid ethnocentrism and accord
indigenous beliefs and social structures due respect in the face of modern rationalities of
political reformers. Some researchers treat the latter and capitalism as objects of study not taken-for-granted frames of analysis or inevitabilities – and have turned to Bourdieu,
Foucault or structuration theory to examine whether accountability ideologies in official
documents advocating reform legitimate interests consistent with those of locals. This
gives an indigenous voice, challenges the hegemony of powerful institutions, and focuses
on policy documents from important external agencies but if exclusively based on
discourse and texts whether these affect action is unknown (hence the need for grounded
studies), and it may downplay the effects of resistance and socio-economic structures.
Hence the preference for some researchers (including the authors) for political economy
approaches that combine grounded and institutional data, employ iterative theorising, and
emphasise the dialectical interplay of the objective and subjective. Given the authors’
theoretical predilections, a ‘cultural political economy’ approach summarised in Table 1
was used as it gave a comprehensive structure and checklist to evaluate MAS research in
LDCs. We do not claim the framework is conclusive or definitive - it is for analysis not
theoretical closure.
A cultural political economy framework
Two similar frameworks were found. Gray (1989) identifies global factors influencing
national and international accounting, which are seen as products of culture and politics,
including history, religion, professional associations, capital markets, and legal systems.
These broadly correspond with factors in our framework. However, Gray’s model is
oriented to financial accounting (but touches on MNO controls and transfer pricing), only
tangentially addresses LDCs, is oriented to statistical testing of dubious validity (e.g.
Hofstede’s measures of national cultures), and neglects transformations over time.
Olowo-Okere and Tomkins (1998) identify three stages in the evolution of government
financial controls in the UK and Nigeria, and attribute ineffective financial changes in
Nigeria to external pressures from the World Bank and IMF, internal political instability,
political ideology, the economic climate, and financial stress. Their model is confined to
Nigeria and government accounting but its factors, like those of Gray, and its dynamic,
evolutionary and contingent stages resonate with our framework.
For exposition purposes our framework that identifies transitions from colonialism to the
present is presumed to cover all LDCs (though it was derived mainly in African and
Asian ex-British colonies). Theoretically, it draws from the labour process approach in
Uddin and Hopper (2001) and the ‘cultural political economy’ in Wickramasinghe and
Hopper (2005) and Wickramasinghe et al. (2004). It identifies five phases - each with a
distinctive MAS: colonial despotism, state capitalism, politicised state capitalism, market
capitalism, and politicised market capitalism (see Table 1). Their dynamic but contingent
evolution from pre-colonial eras is traced in Figure 1. Each regime is an expression of
power and political processes, brought about by force, manipulation, persuasion, and
authority to accommodate political and economic pressures related to modes of
production (MOP), culture, ethnicity and race, the state, regulation and the law, political
parties, industrial relations, and international finance. Each regime is rendered unstable
by its contradictions and conflicts manifest in political struggles nationally and at the
point of production that lay the basis for the new. Thus MAS is seen as a consequence of
external interventions beginning with colonialism and, after independence, policy advice
from Western institutions initially promulgating state and then market capitalism.
However, such idealised regimes of control often presumed contextual factors different
from actuality and ensuing contradictions and conflicts brought politicised state and
market capitalist regimes with unusual and surprising MASs from a Western perspective.
Thus MAS transformations are contextually encircled, evolve historically, and are
socially constructed.
MAS under colonialism
Colonial legacies are crucial for understanding MAS in many LDCs. Before colonialism
production relations were largely feudal and based on the local community (the village)
and families whose productivity and income was governed by their needs, industry, and
nature. A lord or chief often held land though producers normally owned the simple
technology. There was no separation in time or space between work and the family, and
little production of commodities for exchange with other communities or institutions
(Taylor, 1979). Colonisation began to assimilate traditional MOPs with capitalist
production relations, initially through merchants’ capital, then commodity exports, and
finally through imperialism (Hindess and Hirst, 1977). Colonial rulers did not impose
capitalism generally but sought capital accumulation in the most profitable sectors - often
exports of primary products from plantations, estates, and mines. Nor did they pursue
industrialisation, for example jute product manufacturing resided in Britain not
Bangladesh (Sobhan and Ahmad, 1980). Important segments, such as rural agriculture
and cottage industries were only reformed if attractive to finance capital. For instance, the
East India Company in India forced farmers to produce export oriented raw materials like
jute in place of traditional farming. In Sri Lanka the British administration introduced a
plantation economy producing tea, coconut, and rubber. However, MOPs were not
invariably capitalistic, e.g. in Ghana manual techniques were largely used in cocoa
production and gold mining. Hence many sectors, especially, agriculture, merchants, and
domestic manufacture retained pre-capitalist MOPs with feudal social relations and
especially in rural areas traditional cultural practices predominated, e.g. in Sri Lanka,
Sinhalese life centred on rural villages following a traditional Buddhist culture; in Ghana
village life was based on tribes and subsistence agriculture.
The colonial state had separate jurisdiction from companies. Formally, the imperial
centre was unique, unquestionable, and autocratic: local inhabitants despite being subject
to taxes and rules could not question it. However, colonial states did not control
economic activities but relied on self-regulation by finance capital operating within
‘company states’ (Burawoy, 1984). Public administration concentrated on imposing and
preserving capitalist monopolies in selected sectors, creating an infrastructure to procure
raw materials and shift commodities, and creating a labour force (Brewer, 1980).
International cartels and banks co-ordinated capital flows within a territorial division of
trade agreed with the imperial power, which produced a dual economy: traditional
agricultural, merchant, and domestic; and modern export. A small class of mainly
merchants and landowners exercised domestic capitalism but local capital accumulation
was small, hence the limited development of local capital markets, for instance the
Colombo Stock Market founded in 1896 confined its operations to MNOs.
Colonialism divided people into white imperialists and local inhabitants, and the formers’
social, political, and economic domination was justified through notions of racial
superiority. Rudimentary colonial labour markets existed but many indigenous workers
still had access to subsistence agriculture, so colonial firms often imported migratory
contract labour from rural areas or other colonies, and the colonial power’s ‘divide and
rule’ tactics compounded racial and ethnic divisions (Burawoy, 1985). For instance,
Tamils brought from India to work on plantations in Sri Lanka had inferior prospects than
indigenous people; were discriminated against; and struggles between Sinhalese and
Tamil workers on tea estates produced ethnically driven management controls that persist
today (Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, 2004; forthcoming). In Bangladesh the colonial
state divided tasks according to peoples’ religion, sending Hindu personnel to Muslim
areas and vice versa to collect rents and rates (Sobhan and Ahmed, 1980). In Ghana,
labourers were forcefully brought from the predominantly Moslem north to work in
mines in the predominantly Christian south (Crisp, 1984; Ayensu 1997) whose populace
considered mining as dirty, preferred managing, and accorded Northerners lower status
(Robotham, 1989).
Pre-colonial and colonial history is relevant to MAS research in order to determine precolonial forms of accounting (if any); whether traditional cultures and institutions ever
were compatible with Western accounting; and understanding subsequent accounting
transformations. Although accounting and business history journals were not perused
significant historical research was found in which accounting’s failure to resonate with
indigenous cultures was a recurring theme (see Accounting, Organisations and Society,
1999, 24, 5/6 on culture and accounting). Chan, et al., (2001) delineated Chinese MASs
in family households in the early Qing dynasty from a popular novel of the period, noting
the importance of family and culture: big families segregated duties and used cash
controls and budgets but power distance stifled flexibility, professionalism and
effectiveness. Apparently neutral and mechanical accounts gave an economic base to
Siamese national unity in the late early Bangkok period, projected a Siamese national
culture and political identity, and integrated regions into the new nation-state (Constable
and Kuasirikun, 2007). Taxation in British West Africa from the late 19th to mid-20th
centuries tried to inculcate calculative and cultural values to gain the consent to
governance of locals but it failed due to local resistance (Bush and Maltby, 2004).
Colonialism often brought despotic regimes of control based on force and physical
measures, reinforced by sanctions like fines in large commercial companies. 1 Accounting
practice promoted slavery in the British Empire and the USA, especially on plantations
(Oldroyd, et al., forthcoming; Tyson, et al., 2004; Fleischman and Tyson, 2004); enabled
absentee West Indian sugar plantation landlords to exert control from a distance (Cowton
and O'Shaughnessy, 1991); and helped imperial governments control indigenous, slave
and settler populations (Annisette and Neu, 2004). MNOs had few concerns about
securing consent as employees could not question or resist colonial bosses. Controllers
were unregulated in the company state and had arbitrary powers that extended beyond
work. For example, in Zambian mines racial, physical and rudimentary rules prevailed;
physical violence was the rule despite native supervisors; workers’ wages required
completed ‘tickets’ allocated at the whim of white bosses; and no job structures or formal
rules for recruitment, promotion, and training existed (Burawoy, 1985). However, not all
labour was ‘captive’: rudimentary labour markets existed, firms had to adapt labour
processes to local circumstances, and harsh controls fostered resistance (Taylor, 1979),
e.g. Sri Lanka plantation workers informally rioted against ‘white bosses’ and
colonialism (Jayawardene, 1972). Disorganised resistance brought nascent trade unions
that linked with independence movements led by foreign-educated, left-minded, local
leaders and religious groups and during late colonialism although politics remained
imperialistic and racial the state could not ignore political realities and had to revoke
legislation making organised worker resistance illegal and recognise unions and
rudimentary collective bargaining (Kearney, 1975). Nevertheless, given direct, coercive
controls over labour during colonialism abstract bureaucratic controls like MAS probably
had little role in internal control, where emphasis lay upon production. Local costs were
not critical for profitability compared to international commodity prices and preferential
trading agreements. Imperial firms may have used MAS for planning and setting targets
for overseas operations but the emphasis lay on financial reporting for stewardship and
tracking remittances. However, these observations are tentative given the lack of
pertinent research.
Research on indigenous people in developed countries gives insight on accounting under
colonialism (especially that on Maoris, Aborigines, and first nation Americans - see the
Auditing, Accountability and Accounting Journal, 2000, N. 3). For example, alien and
punitive accounting legitimated government confiscations of Maori wealth in New
Ensuing regimes of control are labeled ‘colonial’ because one racial group dominated through political,
legal and economic rights denied to others (Spearpoint, 1937), and ‘despotic’ because management controls
tended to be arbitrary, racial, physical, and coercive.
Zealand from 1885 to 1911 (Hooper and Kearins, forthcoming); Maori women
accountants’ experiences were linked to colonialism and structures of the accounting
profession with deleterious impacts upon individuals and communities (McNicholas et
al., 2004); financial techniques and force maintained colonial domination of indigenous
peoples in Canada and Mexico (Neu and Heincke, 2004); accounting discourses
institutionalised and rationalised relations between the government and First Nations
peoples during the “birth” of Canada (1860 to1900), especially in land disputes (Neu,
2000; Neu and Graham, 2006); and US government reports in the 1930s on overgrazing
and soil erosion containing maps, tables of numbers, accounts and photographs and
notional family budgets constructed the Navajo as economic subjects and consumption
units. Enacting the recommendations brought economic and social disaster for the Navajo
(Preston and Oakes, 2001; Preston, 2006).
State capitalism
Colonialism left many economies with largely primary production, mixed capitalist and
non-capitalist MOPs, a small and weak indigenous capitalist class, a relatively effective
state bureaucracy, and some large foreign firms. However, most remained predominately
rural, agricultural, inclined to non-capitalist cultures and MOPs, and their poverty,
dependence upon external capital, and vulnerability to commodity price shifts and the
elements brought considerable economic uncertainty. Post-independence leaders sought
to rectify this through state capitalism 2 incorporating central planning, industrialisation,
urbanisation, and in its wake, modern values and nationalism, which was consistent with
Western advice, socialist ideologies of independence movements, and pragmatic
necessities. Building nationalism through state-led development headed the agenda as
subjects’ allegiances lay with families, regions, or ethnic groups. Issues of traditional
culture were recognized but relegated to arts and religious spheres in a purportedly
secular state. Initially political control resided in democratically elected governments in
multi-party parliaments. The presumption, reflected in constitutions, was that executive
action lay in a centralised legal-rational bureaucracy staffed by officials appointed on
merit and expertise to serve the national well-being, re-enforced by legal institutions left
from colonial administration.
Large SOEs were created with boards nominated by ministers. The intention was for
ministers and planners to set policy and managers to execute it, with accountability to the
minister-in Parliament. For example, in 1947 Bangladesh (East Pakistan) became part of
Pakistan. The state created an industrial base with a capitalist MOP, establishing state
monopolies under state regulatory bodies for industries in urban areas (though raw
materials and labour came from rural areas). The first Bangladesh Government of 1972
nationalised all industrial units but left rural agriculture and cottage industry untouched.
When this government was overthrown SOEs were responsible for 92% of the total fixed
industrial assets. In Ghana nationalisation of foreign companies was government policy
Defined as ‘the fusion of monopoly forces with the bourgeois state to form a single mechanism of
economic exploitation and political domination’ (Jessop, 1982: 32).
after independence, partly because of allegiances to the Soviet Union. Massive state
investments in manufacturing SOEs and infrastructure mainly in cities followed: rural
agriculture received little attention - despite employing 60% of the workforce. However,
nationalisation was not total, for example some gold mines were spared following deals
between Western businessmen and politicians. In Sri Lanka in 1956 a left-wing
government made all major public services and most large industries state monopolies to
boost economic development but agriculture and domestic industries were ignored.
Political leaders often owed power to trade union backing during independence struggles.
Ideologically governments were sympathetic to trade unions and parties often had a trade
union wing as they realised the political significance of an organised working class,
particularly in large organisations in urban areas. Politicians reconstituted labour conflict
into a framework of collective bargaining (Reuther, 1958). For example, in Bangladesh
rules and regulations governed electing collective bargaining agents, labour courts,
consultation, and strikes. Workers gained rights to join trade unions but in return unions
had to operate within an internal state that governed internal labour markets in SOEs. For
example, in the Bangladesh soap company and the jute mills there were detailed job
classifications; rules on wages, promotions, recruitment, and training; all workers were
permanent, and there were hierarchical promotion opportunities (Uddin and Hopper,
2001). In Ghana, upon independence the Convention People’s Party (CPP) government
passed the 1958 Industrial Relations Act, which recognised trade unions and made
collective bargaining binding on employers and employees but political rights for trade
unions were conditional upon registering within CPP (Mihyo and Schiphorst, 1995). In
1959 the TUC gained monopoly power over trade union activities when the government
made all unions join and membership for civil servants compulsory. Similarly, in Sri
Lanka labour gained significant social and political status within SOEs.
Within state capitalism the state is a major source of capital formation; controls a large
proportion of Gross Domestic Product (and hence employment opportunities); funds most
industrial activities (often through international aid); and allocates resources to public
enterprises through central planning. For instance, in Bangladesh the local capitalist class
was small, had little capital, concentrated on merchanting, and being politically and
economically marginal identified with an expanded state sector (Sobhan, 1991, p. 164).
Mobilising corporate finance through capital markets was deemed unnecessary - banking
was concentrated in state owned banks and the Stock Exchange established before
independence ceased activity - but capital markets existed mainly for MNOs. Similarly,
the Ghanaian capital market was underdeveloped as most large companies were
nationalised and state financed, usually through foreign sources. Remaining large private
enterprises had foreign owners who raised capital abroad. Sri Lanka was similar despite
having a capital market in the 19th century.
Nationalisation legislation gave the state considerable power over SOEs, ranging from
approving master budgets and disciplinary actions, to acting as the ultimate financial
controller. The assumption was that central state planning would act as a legal rational
bureaucracy and some state intervention in management control was expected. Audited
financial accounts of enterprises, fed back through Ministries to Parliament, formed the
backbone of accountability and regulation. Iterative budgeting co-ordinated central plans
with SOE activities and formed the basis of enterprise planning and control. Resource
allocation decisions on government projects would be made centrally according to
relative returns and development priorities. For example, after independence the
Bangladesh government formulated a two-year plan aimed at agricultural selfsufficiency, import substitution, and industrialisation. Regulations and directives like
Nationalisation Orders, Financial Control Directives, and Presidential Orders made
enterprises accountable to public institutions, especially the Ministries of Industries and
Finance and Planning. Rigid rules and regulations governed the preparation and approval
of accounts. Each SOE had to submit annual accounts to the government according to the
Bangladesh Industrial Enterprises Act. The Comptroller and Auditor-General fulfilled an
audit role through the Office of the Director of Commercial Audit: their reports were
reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee on behalf of Parliament (Hoque and
Hopper, 1994; Uddin and Hopper, 1999; 2001). In Ghana the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Planning became responsible for budget allocations in each SOE, which
needed ministerial approval. The Auditor General’s Department with the Comptroller and
the Accountant General’s Department annually audited accounts. In Sri Lanka,
Parliament established financial regulations and establishment codes for ministries to
regulate SOEs. Public sector accounts, financial procedures, budgets, and related reports
were audited by the Auditor General and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee
could investigate them.
Initial MAS and development research reflected beliefs that progress lay in central state
planning, public ownership, and industrialization, and accorded accounting a central role.
Ndzinge and Briston (1999), Winjum (1972), and Seidler (1967) claimed accounting
would promote growth by providing timely and reliable information for investment
decisions and national economic planning. Seiler (1966) claimed accounting systems
were important for supplying financial data to business and the state but accountants
often were marginal management players and provided inadequate data, hence the need
for non-regulated accounting education and professional development within a selfgoverned accounting profession. Needles (1976) argued that institutions involved in
transferring accounting technology (education bodies; international organisations;
government agencies; MNOs; international accounting firms; local companies; and local
accounting firms) should create a sub-plan within the overall economic plan to this end.
Budgets were seen as cornerstones of planning iterations and monitoring, accounting
information crucial to rational central resource allocation, and financial accounts for
accountability. For example, Enthoven (1968) claimed the most important accounting in
LDCs was MAS as it, ‘assists development programming in determining and improving
efficiency and productivity (ibid, p. 109) and he called for an international,
interdisciplinary theory of MA geared to societal socio-economic aims (Enthoven, 1982).
Belverd and Needles (1976), however, emphasized that determining the right model of
accounting required greater understanding of LDCs’ social, cultural, political and legal
environments. Mirghani (1982) also sought broader MASs that incorporated indigenous
not Western development models to provide information to reduce uncertainty in
development planning. However, pessimism emerged. Ghartey (1985) claimed that in
most African countries, governments’ monopoly of power, bureaucracy, conflicting
policies, ineffective institutional structures, and cronyism often rendered MASs marginal
and ineffective; poverty and dominant elites’ lack of motivation stymie adoption of
technologically advanced systems; cultures based on extended families lead to
corruption, malpractice, and everyday life characterised by fear, tension, insecurity; and
the attendant uncertainty produces recurring managerial crises. In short, he counsels that
MASs cannot be effective without resolving governance issues. Thus early writers
identified the neglect of accounting in development practice, policy and research, their
contributions were admirable if Utopian, and they promoted Western accounting
techniques and institutions though later papers advocated broader social measures
pertinent to the politics and socio-economic conditions of LDCs. Their contributions
were ambitious, deductive and prescriptive but light on empirics, application, or theory of
any ilk.
From state capitalism to political factionalism
MASs in state capitalism presume employees are habituated to a capitalist culture and
MOP but frequently this is not so, especially in rural communities. It is dangerous to
dichotomous cultures between traditional and modern, as communities contain elements
of both and cultures change. Consequently local leaders face conflicting expectations –
traditional, modern or hybrid. For example, in a SOE in a Sinhalese Buddhist village
(Wickramasinghe and Hopper, 2004) workers did not seek modernity (but sought many
of its benefits). Unaccustomed to a non-capitalist MOP, and factory time and discipline,
they placed village rituals and institutions over duties in the mill, expecting managers to
exhibit “kingship”: their village culture and religious obligations superseded bureaucratic
rationality and fused with local political agendas. Managers obliged but at a cost to
efficiency. Parties and trade unions vying for political support intervened and reinstated
padded budgets and modest performance targets. Similarly, traditional culture permeated
activities in a Ghana gold mine. Often sacrifices to pacify gods were undertaken and
accidents attributed to superstitious beliefs not negligence, and new executives (whether
expatriate or indigenous) were introduced to the chief and elders, and necessary prayers
said. Miners were used to agricultural patterns of work and time, and managers modified
work practices and budgets accordingly - not doing so would only compound political
interventions on the miners’ behalf.
Ethnicity can compound cultural issues. State capitalism emphasises meritocracy: race
and ethnicity should be irrelevant but often forms the basis of national political
organisation reproduced within firms. For example, in Sri Lanka, ethnic tensions between
Sinhalese and Tamil have fuelled a long running civil war, and shape controls on tea
estates (Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, 2004; forthcoming). In Africa ethnicity cannot
be downplayed (Doornbos, 1991:54). Ghanaian politics follow ethnic lines and in the
gold mine it influenced appointments, investments, and promotions, giving rise to shop
floor disputes that reinforced stereotypes of tribal characteristics, for example managers
from the Moslem north had problems establishing authority over subordinates from
southern and central regions with a different religion and culture (Silver, 1978;
Robotham, 1989).
State capitalism assumes a populace and state committed to nationalism, modernisation,
legal rational governance, and secularism but in variegated ethnic, religious, or cultural
environments political survival is fraught and bureaucratic rationality difficult to
maintain. Small, educated elites, politicians, and senior civil servants are inter-linked,
powerful, and can reap large benefits from office, sometimes illicitly, and well-qualified
bureaucrats that accept legal-rational norms may be scarce, which coupled to low
remuneration can foster corruption and sway decisions towards family, community, and
ethnic group obligations. Following independence most LDCs were parliamentary
democracies with multiple parties premised on class relations as in industrial societies but
this tended not to transpire. Often parties became based on regional, ethnic, or religious
lines, or charismatic leaders, and reflected traditional allegiances not modern ideologies –
whether socialist or capitalist, leading to unstable governments and switches from multi
to one party democracy and military dictatorships. For example, Ghana had five military
governments since independence in 1957: Dr. Nkrumah’s government created a one-party
state: opposition political activities were banned and opposition leaders imprisoned,
exiled, or killed. In Sri Lanka a few families led parties and used ‘thug leaders from the
under-world’ during power struggles. In 1975 the Bangladesh government leader was
murdered and his government overthrown in a military coup and although democracy was
eventually restored politics remained turbulent with governance based on patronage and
expediency. Politicians and officials might wish to modernise but survival may require
satisfying popular non-capitalist cultural expectations through patronage and illicit
means, which might also cement their own interests.
In many LDCs trade unions are conduits to political power. State capitalism sought to
control labour by co-opting trade unions through an internal state based on collective
bargaining but party-based trade unions with branches in enterprises can fuel inter-union
rivalry and party differences within production politics. Trade unions’ ability to link shop
floor resistance to national politics made them central players and constrained managers
operating commercially. For example, in Bangladesh employees supporting opposition
parties had legitimate cases for promotion refused but government supporters were
favoured (Alam, 1990; Hoque, 1993). Politicisation of trade unions was prominent in
Ghana. Dr. Nkrumah granted employment in SOEs to political loyalists. For example, in
1961 the General President of the Ghana Mines Workers Union was appointed to the
Ghana State Mining Company board and in 1963 he became Chairman and Managing
Director. He ensured the company pursued the government’s interests by hiring and
rewarding employees loyal to Nkrumah’s policies and firing those who were not (Silver,
1978). Popular movements (including the TUC) were annexed to the CPP and trade union
activities deemed contrary to the government were made illegal. In the gold mine strikes
often brought military intervention. In Sri Lanka management control was also politically
sensitive, for example, in the textile mill trade union leaders determined workers’ pay,
leave, and promotions not the Human Resources Manager.
Western agencies like the World Bank and IMF supported state led industrialisation: aid
was not conditional upon privatisation until the 1980’s. ‘Cold War’ politics meant LDCs
must choose between the Soviet bloc and Western donors and convince either of their
strategic importance. Ideological predilections and political vassalage often secured loans
rather than economic merits of projects or their likelihood of execution. Private capital
markets played little part given little local private industry. Politicians became nimble in
cultivating external political relations and appearing to meet aid conditions; and external
agencies concerned with political ends were indifferent as to whether leaders with
questionable credentials would use finance granted as specified; or to promote
democratic, transparent, and effective governance. For example, in Ghana Dr. Nkrumah
embraced a communist ideology to gain financial and technical support from the Soviet
Union. In Sri Lanka, post-independence governments veered towards the politics and
economics of the socialist-bloc, especially when they financed industrial ventures.
This encouraged corruption, economic mismanagement, and patronage politics. For
example, in Ghana leaders, ministers and heads of public institutions were prosecuted for
‘kalabule’ (a local term for corruption) and mismanagement - in 1979 six deposed Supreme
Military Council government members were shot for corruption. In Bangladesh managers
could not resolve industrial relations disputes and matters like appointments, financing, and
pricing as they became the prerogative of the minister and his political colleagues (Sobhan
and Ahmad, 1980). In Sri Lanka families that formerly served the imperial government
exploited their prominence in post independence parties to augment their wealth
(Jayawardene, 1972). Government regulations to minimise corruption, e.g. requiring
qualified officials, were flouted (Jayawardene, 2000): workers soon realised that satisfaction
of demands laid in political patronage via party-based unions not managerial decisions.
Given this it is unsurprising that research catalogues a litany of budget problems in SOEs:
state capitalism in action bore little correspondence to its ideals. For example, accounting
in an Algerian state construction enterprise existed but apart from financial officers at
head office few knew of it; production not accounting language permeated management
because of government pressure to complete projects, shortages of materials and
production capacity, and state control over costs and prices (Ouibrahim and Scapens,
1989). An Algerian SOE was similar: there was no lack of accounting skills but
accounting information was marginal to governmental decisions; annual financial reports
were prepared but not scrutinised; cost accounting was used to calculate subsidies not
operational planning, decision-making, and control; and production language
predominated because managerial bonuses were tied to physical targets (Jones and
Seffiance, 1992). Recent research is similar. An enterprise resource planning
customization failed in an Egyptian SOE due to institutionalised uniform accountability
and accounting requirements from government agencies (Kholeif et al. 2007). World
Bank-sponsored MAS reforms in a Ghana company had little impact upon accountability:
budgeting remained politicised, delayed, directionless and ineffective (Uddin and
Tsamenyi, 2005).
Accounting controls unrelated to rewards or actual circumstances become irrelevant for
managers when political interventions predominate. For example, accounting and
financial management in the Volta River Authority in Ghana became part of routine
negotiations with the government and was constantly renegotiable in the light of
environmental changes (Rahaman and Lawrence, 2001). Industrial relations,
accountability, and accounting in Bangladeshi SOEs became symbolic and detached from
operations (Hoque, 1995; Uddin and Siddique, 1995; Hoque and Hopper, 1994, 1997;
Uddin and Hopper, 1999; Alam, 1997). Formal mechanisms remained intact but became
ritualistic, rule-bound, and ceremonial and irrelevant rituals, i.e. loosely or totally
decoupled. Politicians did not abandon them for they needed a veneer of legal rationality
to secure legitimacy from external bodies and the populace, but they and central planners
paid little heed to accounting: budgets set higher but unrealistic production targets to
demonstrate political achievements to Parliament and the populace. Meaningful
accountability often never occurred - technically and procedurally sound financial
accounts were rarely discussed within Parliament or relevant committees. Many
managers dissatisfied with this sought more budget participation and flexibility
(Maunders et al., 1990), and some resisted granting undue deals on ethical and/or
commercial grounds but most recognised their weakness and struck informal deals with
local trade union leaders, workers, and suppliers to maintain production, whilst
attributing failures to achieve budget to unrealistic targets, or disregarded budgets whilst
manipulating them to protect their reputations. Thus bureaucratic procedures designed to
control corruption and facilitate legal rationality became vehicles for the behaviour they
sought to eliminate.
Hafsi and Thomas (1988) identify three stages in state and SOE relationships
(cooperative, adversarial and autonomous) determined by each SOE’s development of a
technical core, its financial self sufficiency, the government’s creation of a supervisory
structure, and consensus about political rules. Hafsi et al. (1987) found that though
researchers and governments disagree on accountability and performance criteria, infant
SOEs did not use formal controls because managers and political authorities had
synonymous views and once SOEs were autonomous market pressures provided effective
controls at lower administrative cost. Our reading of the literature is more pessimistic.
State capitalism rarely functions as intended or in such a linear rational manner.
Legislation making enterprises accountable to the state bureaucracy gave conduits for
political intervention into the financial management of enterprises rendering legalrational bureaucracy an illusion. This is not just an issue of venal exercise of power by
the powerful (though this can occur) but a product of socio-economic factors. However,
political factionalism brought enterprise losses and large public sector deficits and
politicians found their space for political manoeuvre increasingly finite as resources
diminished. The status quo was unsustainable without external aid but the cessation of
‘Cold War’ politics ended benign loans for client states. Increasingly right wing
ideologies such as Thatcherism and Reaganism cast scepticism on economic aid to LDCs,
particularly if unaccompanied by market-based reforms endorsed by World Bank and
IMF preconditions for loans. The intention was to replace political factionalism and
patronage associated with state central planning with private ownership and market
exchanges. Aware that fiscal crises precipitate political crises, LDC governments knew
they must (or appear to) comply.
Market capitalism
Market capitalism often came via World Bank and IMF structural adjustment
programmes (SAP) promoting free trade, competition, private capital, limited
government intervention, and public sector reforms involving privatisation or closure of
SOEs, subcontracting tasks to the private sector, and NPM programmes (Toye, 1994;
Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1995; Hemming and Mansoor, 1988; Cook, 1986). In Bangladesh
the initial socialist government fell partly because of inefficient SOEs whose losses
consumed 30% of annual project aid. Subsequent military governments facing domestic
opposition and fiscal deficits had little alternative but to accept loan conditions from aid
agencies demanding privatisation of SOEs (whether loss-making or not). State capitalism
in Ghana diminished when Dr. Nkrumah’s government (1957 to 1966) fell and the
military National Liberation Council and then civilian Progress Party (PP) governments
implemented IMF/World Bank economic policies introducing privatisations in 1970. The
Colonel Acheampong military government and popular backlashes in 1972 deferred these
but the Soviet bloc decline forced Ghana to turn to Western financial institutions and
become an early Sub-Saharan African country to adopt SAPs. In 1983 Flight Lieutenant
Rawling’s military government accepted IMF/World Bank initiated reforms to reduce
government market interventions, encourage domestic savings and foreign investment,
privatise SOEs, and improve the balance of payments. In Sri Lanka in 1977 a new rightwing government pursued an ‘open economy’, and under IMF and World Bank pressure
embarked on privatisations and rolling back the public sector.
SAPs promote private property rights and competition in the belief that this will induce
controls over owners and managers that encourages them to pursue commercial goals,
assisted by legislation that forces trade unions (especially public sector ones) into
collective bargaining, sever their party links, and curtails labour rights, especially in
export zones. In a nutshell, market mechanisms should co-ordinate and control not
government regulatory bodies reliant on a high and problematic accounting input
(Peasnell, 1993). Market capitalism pays little heed to culture, race and ethnicity
assuming a capitalist MOP with modern management controls, economic rewards, labour
contracts, private property rights, and practices like total quality and continuous
improvement will secure worker effort, discipline and co-operation under newly
empowered managers with economic rent opportunities: the meritocracy of markets will
engender social homogeneity, supersede traditional work patterns, and engender
individualism, legal rational beliefs, and obligations to employers.
International finance agencies like the World Bank and the IMF expect LDC states to
create an infrastructure conducive to international capital by adopting supply-side
economics and providing infrastructures that enforce law and order and property rights;
permit financial and commercial mobility; promote education and training congruent with
market needs; employ ‘new public management’ (NPM) principles in government
agencies unsuitable for privatisation; follow legal-rational not partisan decision making;
make political parties compete on their ability to manage the new regime; reorganise and
lessen public ownership of domestic banks; foster commercial practices; and provide
state regulatory bodies, especially for privatised utilities where monopolies prevail. For
example, in the 1990s the Sri Lanka Treasury established a division to implement private
sector performance evaluation methods in enterprises, and regulatory bodies for
industries like broadcasting, transport, insurance, banking, and telecommunications.
Where possible private capital is preferred, which requires domestic capital markets.
Thus a Ghanaian stock exchange was created in 1989 in anticipation of privatisations to
attract foreign investment, and in Sri Lanka stock market activity resumed in the 1970s
and 1980s for similar reasons.
SAPs require effective accounting but development economists and policy makers often
neglect this because of their inclinations to macro-economic solutions, and presumptions
that accounting is technical, unproblematic, and flows directly from market capitalism.
Ndzinge and Briston (1999) despair at the poor links between accountants and
development specialists, and the promotion of accounting technologies from rich
countries rather than systems adapted to local socio-economic conditions. Too often non
accountants assume that accounting, especially if it follows international auditing and
accounting standards, will provide the information and transparency necessary for
financial markets to invest optimally and make enterprises accountable through hostile
takeovers, dismissals of recalcitrant managers, or regulatory or legal interventions. It is
assumed stronger agency relationships and improved technology under private ownership
and greater competition will improve controls within and over enterprises.
Whence market capitalism?
Market capitalism is an ‘idealised’ normative model with sometimes unanticipated
effects. Talga and Ndubizu (1986) found dissonances between orthodox and political
economy paradigms of development, and normative and positive accounting, can produce
MASs that reinforce political factionalism and/or new forms of ‘crony capitalism’. Others
accuse the World Bank, IMF and Western donors like USAID of ignoring local resistance
to privatisation; LDCs’ inadequate financial systems for handling large equity sales; and
that privatisations may ignore societal needs, be inadequately regulated, create private
monopolies; and not necessarily outperform SOEs (Commander and Killick, 1988; Cook
and Kirkpatrick, 1995). Stiglitz (2002) argues that IMF ‘solutions’ worsen (even create)
LDC problems by unduly promoting global finance interests. Accounting is integral to
these debates and research is needed on the IMF’s accountability and transparency; the
role of accounting firms in IMF programs; IMF monitoring of debtor nations and
projects, and its links with the finance industry(Arnold and Cooper, 1999).
MAS within former public enterprises
Fortunately, such research is emerging: Tinker (1980) and Neu and Ocampo (2007) in
studies of Delco in Sierra Leone, and an education project in Latin America respectively
show how World Bank practices and discourses promoted a neo-liberal agenda,
globalized Western financial practice, and denied local experience; Murphy
(forthcoming) after scrutinising the Mital steel empire and Kazakhastan privatisations
criticises the IMF and World Bank for favouring global capitalism and rootless MNOs;
Neu, et al. (2006) demonstrate how accounting in World Bank loan agreements act as
governance mechanisms that diffuse certain financial technologies to LDCs, re-structure
their customs, and reaffirm the Bank’s expertise, legitimacy and influence.
Whatever, market-based reforms impact MASs: after full privatisation a Bangladesh soap
company computerised management information systems, and improved market
information and production scheduling (Uddin and Hopper, 2001); the partial
privatisation of the Sri Lankan state telephone company (previously renowned for poor
service and inefficiency; rule bound, bureaucratic management; and political
interventions) brought a Japanese company minority shareholder that undertook its
management, bringing consultative leadership, trade union co-operation, new
management controls and rewards, intensive capital investment, younger more
technically qualified staff, and some commercial success (Wickramasinghe et al, 2004);
when a Sri Lankan textile mill was sold the new owners invested in new machinery,
maintained existing industrial relations, and improved controls (Wickramasinghe and
Hopper, 2004); when a Ghanaian gold mine was corporatized (government equity
reduced to 20%), investment revived and Western MASs introduced, including an
integrated accounting software package for business planning and control, activity-based
costing, cost cutting measures, budget based managerial performance evaluation; and
budget training (Tsamenyi and Hopper, 2003).
This accords with reports from China, whose enterprises gradually adopted contemporary
MAS practices in the transition from Maoism to Dengism. As elsewhere, accounting is
shaped by political discourses: under Mao ideologies of class struggle, central planning,
and public ownership constructed a class view of accounting and prohibited Western
accounting whereas under Deng, accounting became a neutral technology spanning
national boundaries and Western methods were encouraged (Ezzamel, et al., 2007).
Gradually an ideology of markets, mixed-ownership and enterprise autonomy with less
mandatory state planning and greater macro-economic regulation (Zhou,1988) induced
greater management planning, budgeting, performance evaluation, forecasting, and
control within enterprises building on responsibility accounting used since the 1950s
(Child and Xu, 1991; Scapens and Yan, 1993; Bromwich and Wang, 1991; Skousen and
Yang, 1988; Scapens and Yan, 1993; Scapens and Ben-Ling, 1995; Maschmeyer and
Yang, 1990). Lessons were learned from joint ventures, for example, Chinese
participants’ MASs resembled those of foreign partners more than their Chinese
counterparts (Firth, 1996). However, joint ventures can hit difficulties: Chinese partners
often have a longer term strategy than their USA partners and expect eventually to
assume control (Yan and Gray, 1994); US partners use controls to transmit and protect
their knowledge whereas Chinese partners see them as sharing and protecting
investments; and issues like expatriate staffing, socialisation, delegation, parent company
communications, and performance incentives often reflect each partner’s relative
knowledge and investments (Chalos and O'Connor, 2004). Moreover, Western MAS
research is ignorant of Chinese MAS practices and their behavioural underpinnings,
which hinders Chinese managers applying Western systems, which has brought calls for
more facilitative, process based assistance (Scapens and Yan, 1993). Nevertheless, MAS
change in China was popularised in academic journals, seminars, and training sessions
(Bromwich and Wang, 1991) and has undergone debate and experimentation, for
example on: financially restructuring Chinese SOEs (Lee, 2001); how short-term
employment contracts, joint venture experience, stock exchange listing, and training
affect ‘‘Western’’ MASs in Chinese SOEs (O’Connor, et al., 2004); responsibility
accounting combined with target costing, standard costing, performance evaluation, and
internal transfer pricing (Lin and Yu, 2002); implementing ABC when internal resistance
was offset by top management support, a culture of “top–down” management innovations
(e.g., Economic-Value Added, Balanced Scorecards and Six Sigma), hierarchical
commands and communications, and professional involvement (Liu and Pan, 2007); and
how management controls are mediated by political constraints and liberalization
measures (industry level growth and foreign firm competition, joint venture experience
and stock market listing) (O’Connor, Deng and Luo, 2006). Although China is unique in
many respects it has insights and lessons for other LDCs as it has largely controlled
development and its transition from central state planning to market-oriented policies
itself. It initially retained uniform accounting – a legacy of an economy marked by strong
state-ownership, a weak accounting profession, and weak equity markets – but
subsequently reformed equity markets, accounting regulation and controls, and local and
international accounting standards in a manner consistent with China’s cultural, political
and economic history (Davidson, et al., 1996; Graham and Li, 1997; Xiao, et al., 2004).
Market reforms may bring more commercial MAS methods but alternative means could
produce similar results. Some claim that insufficient goal clarity; and inappropriate
controls, motivation and rewards inhibit SOE performance not ownership, hence
performance enhancement can come from improved systems rather than ownership
changes (Vernon-Wortzel and Wortzel, 1989). Moreover, privatisations can hit problems:
they were delayed or ineffective in Eritrea (Hailemariam and von Eije, 2004); and
Caribbean privatisations imposed by the World Bank, IMF and USAID lacked formal
planning; hit political, ideological, economic, social and administrative obstacles, and
governments sought more scope to consider alternative policies (Austin, et al., 1986).
Uddin and Hopper (2003) challenged a World Bank report claiming that the success of a
tranche of Bangladesh privatisations warranted more. In contrast, they judged only one of
the thirteen privatisations a commercial success: in the others contributions to state
revenue declined; transparent external reports required by law failed to materialise;
untoward transactions affecting minority shareholders, creditors, and taxation agencies
emerged; and more commercial internal controls wrought declining employment, wages,
quality of working life, and employee rights. Above all, the paper questioned the narrow
criteria of the World Bank report - namely profit – rather than broader development aims.
Other studies confirm that MAS changes associated with market reforms can have
unanticipated effects prejudicial to broader development aims. After corporatization,
managerial gaming and ethnic tensions in a Ghana gold mine persisted (Tsamenyi and
Hopper, 2003). Following the full privatization of a Bangladesh soap company financial
information became a preserve of the controlling family who imposed arbitrary, physical
budgets reinforced by hiring, firing, and promoting at whim; capital investment was
slight; external reports ceased in violation of company law and stock exchange
regulations leading to allegations of irregular financial transactions and exploitation of
minority shareholders, and prosecutions by tax officials and banks; the internal state and
internal labour markets were destroyed and workers made redundant were rehired at
lower wages through internal subcontracting (Uddin and Hopper, 2001). The privatised
Sri Lankan textile mill financially collapsed when the owner fled abroad having
fraudulently removed machinery purchased with state bank loans (Wickramasinghe and
Hopper, 2004). Catchpowle and Cooper (1999) present a gloomy story of privatization in
South Africa claiming that MASs bore harshly on workers, rationalised redundancies,
and reduced benefits. Social and environmental reporting by the Volta River Authority of
Ghana masked, legitimised and justified exploitation by transnational capital and
perpetuated poverty despite strict reporting controls in a World Bank funding agreement
(Rahaman et al., 2004). In China old MAS methods co-existing alongside new ones
wrought tensions between a profit emphasis and employment generation (Skousen and
Yang, 1988); and produced worker unrest, inefficient resource allocation, and demands
for more non-financial measures (Maschmeyer and Ji-Liang, 1990).
MAS market-based reforms do not necessarily reduce corruption and patronage
associated with political factionalism. In the Bangladesh privatized soap company
political influence merely took new forms: ministers used regulatory powers to favour
investors, and oust militants and trade unions, in return for management recognising a
token government party union and appointing staff recommended by ministers (Uddin
and Hopper, 2001). In the Ghana gold mine the government used its minority
shareholding and board representation to influence management decisions and political
disputes spilled into the company, for example, managers were accused of allegiance to
the opposition party and a chief objectionable to the government; in 1993 the Head of
State, Jerry Rawlings, inspected the mine, and by midday expressed his dissatisfaction
with conditions and replaced the Deputy Managing Director (Tsamenyi and Hopper,
2003). In the Sri Lankan textile mill workers and indigenous managers allied against the
new owners and following the mill’s bankruptcy got political and trade union leaders to
resume to state control and reopen the mill during a pre-election period only for it to
close shortly after (Wickramasinghe and Hopper, 2004). In the Sri Lankan
telecommunications firm disgruntled employees habituated to work in a government
department allied with trade union and political leaders frustrated by their exclusion from
organisational affairs and got the CEO removed and formal bureaucracy restored by
exploiting ministerial powers to appoint board members and, above all, influence the
regulatory system (Wickramasinghe et al., 2004).
MAS public sector reform
Market-based reforms in government accounting also have a chequered history.
Optimists claim that sound change management (Aharoni, 1981), and cultures that
supported clear mission statements and managerial autonomy over personnel issues
(Grinde, 1997) can overcome many implementation problems. Diamond (2004) claims
that international organizations usually concur on what auditing standards (an important
component of NPM) in government departments are required but implementation
capacities vary and he proposes a change framework to overcome this and commends
selecting models compatible with local audit traditions. Improved change methods may
be required sometimes. For instance, for overcoming essentially political rivalries
between reformers during Indonesian local government accounting reforms (Marwata
and Alam, 2006); and resistance in an Egyptian public hospital to MAS reforms that
disrupted everyday routines and challenged physicians' power (Hassan, 2005).
However, problems can transgress change management issues. Demands for information
on public sector performance can remain unmet due to low-institutional capacity and
corruption (Mimba, et al., 2007). Budgetary reforms that were loan conditions in a World
Bank SAP in Malawi overwhelmed the state’s limited capacity to collect and process
information, giving weight to arguments that rational systems of planning less effective
than MASs that focus on control, use simple, delegated short-run budgets not long-run
plans, work within actual and short-run data and within existing resources, avoid large
projects and spread risk, budget continuously and flexibly, and use output controls tied to
rewards (Mserembo and Hopper, 2004). Others complain that external agencies too often
use the developed world as a benchmark to evaluate LDC MAS practices and advocate
methods derived from inappropriate development economic theory that are incompatible
with indigenous cultures, local democracy, and ignore domestic politics and conflicts
(Rahman et al, 1997). And accounting reforms can facilitate abdication of the state’s role
and mask exploitation, not least through their discourse and language (Arnold and
Cooper, 1999). For example, introducing economic rents, selling state houses, and the use
of balanced scorecards by the Fijian Public Rental Board following World Bank loan
conditions possibly enhanced efficiency and wealth but frustrated the Board’s mission of
accommodating poor people (Sharma and Lawrence, 2005); accounting discourse
associated with financially re-structuring a Fijian SOE reinforced institutionalised racial
discrimination (Davie, 2005); a profit oriented MAS introduced by external financial
institutions in the Fijian Development Bank overturned protections of indigenous Fijians
from settler exploitation and importation of cheap Indian labour and ended up reinforcing
racial privileges (Alam, et al., 2004); MAS changes from international development
agencies that reflected values, concepts, rationales and practices inconsistent with
Kiribati culture brought major problems (Dixon (2004); and resistance to privatising
urban water services in Ghana was diminished by accounting language that prioritised
“profitability” “affordability” and “accountability” (Rahaman, et al., 2007).
Awio, et al., (2007) argue that NPM emphasises hierarchy, especially managers reporting
to political masters, and instead they commend systems that incorporate “bottom-up”
accountability where public service deliverers are responsible to communities they serve
as in the Ugandan Community-led HIV/AIDS Initiative. However, MAS reforms
purporting to increase local autonomy, democracy and accountability may not do so.
Decentralisation and local autonomy may be desirable but can exacerbate the corruption
and undue political interference it seeks to reduce. Anticorruption organizations,
especially the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, OECD, and Transparency International,
view accounting’s role in reducing corruption as relatively unproblematic, whereas
radical approaches are ambivalent – seeing accounting as potentially both an enabler and
constrainer of economic accountability and liberal democracy (Everett, et al., 2007).For
example, a Chinese hospital that introduced Western accounting methods to improve
managerial information and decentralise control was frustrated by vestiges of the
command economy that set prices below cost (Chu and Rask, 2002). Malawi local
government reforms increased managerial autonomy only for politicians to regain control
by interference, sabotage and corruption resulting in managers regaining some autonomy
by exploiting NPM-based managerial prerogatives, central government interventions, and
corrupt collusions with councillors (Tambulasi, 2007).
Frustrated by governments’ failure to effectively deliver programmes, corruption and
political patronage, many aid institutions have turned to non governmental organizations
(NGOs) 3 - typically independent non-profit organisations dependant wholly or partly on
charitable donations and voluntary service. NGOs are now major players in LDCs. In
1992 international NGOs handled $7.6 billion of aid to LDCs: 30,000 NGOs handle 15%
of overseas development aid. NGOs are two types: operational NGOs that execute
development-related projects, and advocacy NGOs that defend or promote a specific
cause. Operational NGOs vary in aims, scope and size but can be large, influential
organisations, for example BRAC and Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. They engage in
delivering literacy and clean water projects, consulting, selling goods and services,
finance for the poor and education and training. At their best they possess humanitarian
political or social goals; strong grassroots links; field-based development expertise;
innovation and adaptability; process-oriented approaches; participation linked to learning;
long-term commitment; an emphasis on sustainability; cost-effectiveness, and cross
cultural management. However, despite a generally positive view, there are complaints
that NGOs sometimes unfairly compete with private organizations; can be corrupt; fail
operationally; have limited financial and management expertise; are too dependant on
charismatic leaders; and their vocal criticisms underplay broader social or economic
issues. For example, NGOs can be vehicles for ideology not assistance; subject to capture
by politics; and may fail because they are unelected and unaccountable (Lehman, 2007).
NGOs can be ineffective, for example NGOs supporting indigenous Africans
unsuccessfully fought mining companies over pollution, land degradation, and health
because governments desperate for capital exercised limited jurisdiction over foreign
companies and favoured them and political clients when granting employment, contracts,
and export quotas, and (Ranuthge, 2001; Uyangoda, 2000).
NGOs are under-researched within accounting despite sometimes deficient systems for
evaluating projects, protecting public deposits, and legal frameworks (see Accounting,
Auditing and Accountability Journal, V. 19, N. 3, 2006; and O'Dwyer and Unerman,
2007). NGOs raise ethical and technical issues poorly addressed in conventional
accounting. Their strong values of fairness, equity, transparency, participation, learning,
environmental sustainability, and commitments to social and political goals call for novel
controls and rewards. For example, three Tanzanian NGOs perceived accounting as alien
(though perceived impending bankruptcy could mitigate this) and used it symbolically to
gain legitimacy rather than conventional planning and control but this was of minor
import as stakeholders sought more accessible means of societal scrutiny and operational
transparency (Goddard and Assad, 2007); treasurers in local voluntary organisations in
Mauritius also used MASs mainly to symbolise rationality to gain external legitimacy to
little avail as funding bodies saw accounting data as marginal for voluntary organizations
The World Bank defines NGOs as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering,
promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake
community development" (Operational Directive 14.70).
with social objectives and they preferred engendering trust within “emotional” and
informal relations (Soobaroyen and Sannassee, 2007). Thus relationships and accounting
concerns within and surrounding NGOs can differ from commercial organisations. For
example, members of an Irish overseas aid agency became concerned that corporate
rhetoric on its social accounting downplayed needs for substantive change and
stakeholder empowerment in African projects (O’Dwyer, 2005). Moreover, accounting
can render NGO practices inconsistent with their aims, for example a Zambian
microfinance NGO found it supplanted bottom-up accountability and constrained
accountability to other stakeholders (Dixon, et al., 2007); and Traidcraft found “social
bookkeeping” did not augment accountability to stakeholders as intended but made
management interpret religious principles more commercially (Dey, 2007).
MAS in private enterprises
Researchers frequently argue that Western MAS methods are alien to many LDCs and
MAS reforms should pay more heed local circumstances, practices and customs. Insight
into such accommodations, and whether more effective indigenous accounting practices
exist might come from private companies operating in LDCs.
For example, do MNOs shape MASs according to local circumstances? However, such
studies are few. Rivera (1982) prescribes segmental accounting to retain central control
and notes problems of insufficient experts, poor accounting education, and
malfunctioning public services. Frucot and Shearon (1991) ascribed the satisfaction and
locus of control being related for USA but not Mexican managers in MNOs to cultural
differences, and Mexican managers in wholly foreign owned MNOs holding different
beliefs about budget participation and the locus of control to Mexican managers in
Mexican companies to MNOs being able to homogenise cultures by selective recruitment
or socialisation. Leach-Lopez et al., (2007) extended this study finding strong
associations between budget participation and performance for USA managers in the
USA and Mexican managers in USA companies in Mexico but the causal explanation
varied, especially for Mexican managers not bilingual or without US supervisors. We
have tantalising but limited results on how MNOs may mitigate the effects of culture.
Elsewhere, MNOs are objects of suspicion, for example MNOs and large international
accounting firms may have influenced Fiji’s adoption of international financial reporting
standards (IASs) to gain resources prejudicial to public interests (Chand and White,
2007). However, judging MNOs is not clear cut: in Malaysia local companies were less
committed to social responsibilities than foreign companies, particularly those from the
USA and Britain (Teoh and Thong, 1984). Nevertheless, MNOs’ use of transfer pricing
to shift taxation to favourable jurisdictions thereby denying LDCs of revenue is a major
concern. Armstrong (1998) argues that MAS research neglects this because its neoclassical economic orientation focuses on individual state-MNO relations rather than the
effects of growing global capitalism, and economic regulation and calculation by nation
states. Some MAS research advocates standard global transfer pricing procedures to
prevent MNOs exploiting different tax policies, import duties, transfer pricing
regulations, withholding taxes, profit repatriation and currency risks (Bokorski, 1997).
For example, transfer prices of MNOs in Bangladesh rendered them less profitable than
local firms despite the MNOs’ superior market power and resources (Rahman and
Scapens, 1986); using identical transfer prices for tax compliance and internal
management in an MNO brought a more coercive MAS (Cools, et al., forthcoming); and
debates on cost and market-based transfer pricing prevail in China (Chan and Chow,
2001). Given the importance of transfer pricing in public policy generally, and LDCs
specifically, the sparseness of MAS research is surprising and disturbing, especially as
many LDCs and policymakers have switched from vilification of MNOs to endorsement
and encouragement in the belief that they provide foreign capital, create employment, and
bring managerial expertise.
Research in large indigenous companies may indicate whether MASs in LDCs raise
distinct issues but this too is sparse. Only two surveys of costing practice were found.
MAS use and sophistication was limited in 40 Egyptian private firms: no advanced
accounting techniques were applied, activity-based costing concepts were largely
unknown, and costing was used for pricing not performance measurement, process
improvement or cost reduction (Van Triest and Elshahat, 2007). In contrast, a survey of
119 Malaysian companies revealed that intellectual capital influenced their MASs particularly towards value-based and mixed financial and non-financial measures, and
‘beyond-budgeting’ controls that addressed economic uncertainty (though not stock
market movement or investor reaction) rather than profit and performance oriented
systems. Financial capital budgeting measures (but rarely “real options”) were used but
possibly to legitimise decisions (Tayles, et al., 2007).
According to Velayutham and Perera (1996) in the West accounting information
normally services contracts between agents and principals and such transacting reflects
individualistic norms whereas in Asia and Africa collective relations prevail and
accounting rationalises these. Some studies, often in a contingency vein touch on this.
Malaysian companies used budgets for forecasting and control, perceived budget pressure
as strong, and sought more budget participation (Chun, 1996) but participation in budget
goal setting, managerial performance and appropriate goals were positively associated for
senior managers in a major commercial Thai bank found but there was no association
between participation in budget goals and commitment to achieve them (Virameteekul et
al., 1995). After the Indian market-based economic reforms in 1991 firms’ budgets were
perceived as more realistic, meaningful, and useful, especially when forming strategy, but
unlike Western firms Indian firms sought more supplier partnerships despite being
defenders, which was consistent with Indian culture (Anderson and Lanen, 1999). In
Latin America, defender and reactor strategies were positively associated with social and
economic crises whereas prospector and analyzer strategies were negatively associated,
and prospector strategies and the use of budgets were significantly related (Collins et al.,
997). Over seven years major MAS changes were institutionalised in the Banco do Brasil
(Guerreiro, et al., 2006). In South Africa four retailing companies increasingly used
contemporary MASs, especially ABC and balanced scorecards, following government
deregulation and global competition policies (Waweru, et al., 2004). However, Botha
(1995) argues that the market reforms brought inequalities and injustices created by
apartheid into greater focus, and require financial management that better supports
democracy, sustainable growth and wealth redistribution. From the limited evidence
available there is a growing and effective uptake of contemporary MAS methods in larger
companies within LDCs following market liberalisation, though they may need adjusting
for cultural and political reasons.
Family rather than institutional ownership is more prevalent in LDCs than many Western
countries. Hence in LDCs senior managers often come from owning families leading to
controls that are informal, arbitrary, direct, and the province of the family; predominately
personal rather than formal relations; and rules and regulations superseded by family or
friendship connections (Black et al., 2000). Case studies support these observations. A
Pakistan company founded by three brothers initially ran on trust. It was soon successful
despite lacking formal accounting controls except for tax purposes and to satisfy the
bank. However, business crises brought clashes resulting in cost accounting for dealers,
decentralised management, and formal rewards but trust and family ties still
predominated. When the elder brother, who had worked for an MNO, assumed control he
introduced a centralised MAS. Disputes flared: professional managers resented their
reduced discretion, the other brothers wanted to revert to traditional controls despite
knowing it would impair efficiency, family disputes over shareholdings and distributions
raged, and eventually the business failed. Efficiency and formal rationality could not be
separated from traditional values (Ansari and Bell, 1991). The importance of ‘family’
was also found in a Chinese owned Indonesian firm (Efferin and Hopper, 2007). Chinese
Indonesians have suffered political discrimination and harassment consequently the
owners who were old friends were suspicious of the state and ethnic Indonesian
employees. Appointments, business intelligence, and commercial matters relied on social
networks of friends and relations where trust and ‘face’ were vital. However, they
introduced rational Western controls including budgets, financial controls, formal wage
scales, and some financial rewards for performance. Within the owners’ immediate circle
budgeting was participatory, open and based on trust, and financial responsibility was
collective but no financial information went beyond the ‘family’. Thus controls blended
Chinese values with Western methods adapted to local contexts, especially ethnic
tensions. This tallies with a Chinese company whose MAS reproduced Chinese cultural
values of high power distance, top-down communication, pseudo-participative
management, dictatorial leadership, which produced repressed subordinates who
occasionally complained of inequality (Chan and Lee, 1997).
Agricultural, small and micro enterprises
MAS research reproduces past development policy biases by concentrating on large
industrial and commercial organisations and neglecting agricultural ones, microorganisations, and domestic production that are substantial economic sectors of many
LDCs, especially regarding employment. The only contribution on contemporary large
scale agricultural organisations was on Sri Lankan tea plantations (Alawattage and
Wickramasinghe, forthcoming) where post-colonial social and political factors blurred
boundaries between economic enterprises, civil society and the state. Accounting was
used for financial control and external reporting but also reproduced and sustained the
political hegemony over labour in everyday practices of ‘tea-making’. Otherwise
agriculture remains virgin territory for MAS researchers which is sad for it is
economically crucial and often takes unusual organisational forms such as co-operatives.
Similar issues reign for small companies. Only one study by Kattan, et al., (2007) was
found, which reports that ten years of fluctuating Palestinian political crises led a small
company’s MAS to become more mechanistic when the environmental and political
situation was stable but became organic under greater uncertainty.
MAS research on micro-organisations is in its infancy. Asechemie’s (1997) claim that
African accounting systems in informal economic sectors still accommodate traditional
values provoked a sharp rejoinder from Wallace (1997) who questioned his account of
pre- and post-colonial modes of production in Nigeria, the existence of African
maintenance accounting, his oral history evidence, and whether pre-colonial Nigeria cash
accounting and master-servant relations were impervious to agency problems. On the
other hand, Asechemie and Ikeri (1999) found Nigerian artisans did not keep systematic
cost records (as reported by Onuoha, 1994; Phillips, 1991, Nwachukwu, 1990,
Asechemie, 1995) but used accounting strategically and flexibly, for example marginal
costs was perceived as fairer than profit maximization and fostered price competitiveness,
nor did they deduct their labour value - consistent with African traditions. Native
tradition influenced accounting by three Bangladeshi small traders: its absence was
attributed to social and state institutions not demanding it, and norms of reciprocity and
trust when trading though debtor records were sometimes kept once traders became
literate (Jacobs and Kemp, 2002). Calculative practices of fishing people in a poor rural
community in Sri Lanka also reproduced a mode of production rooted in traditional
village cultures and local economic and political power relations (Jayasinghe and
Wickramasinghe, 2007). Satta (2004) points out that development policy makers and
scholars increasingly realise that micro enterprises are important sources of new jobs in
LDCs but their growth is constrained by difficulties obtaining finance from banks that
follow conventional lending methods, over-estimate risk in loan proposals, and have high
transaction costs, and he develops a model to overcome this. After assessing three
Tanzanian small firm financing schemes a cooperative bank was found to be the most
effective in poor rural areas bereft of mainstream financial services, and accounting
researchers should help formulate standardised methods for evaluating small firms'
financing schemes (Satta, 2006). Micro-finance is a neglected but important area of MAS
research that calls for novel methods, often action-based, and major reconstitution of
what is perceived as the MAS domain.
Discussion and conclusions
So, ‘What do we know about MAS in LDCs?’ Research is growing but apart from China
is not extensive in any country. Much concentrates on SOEs and effects of market
reforms, especially privatisation, in large industrial and government organisations. A
catalogue of indifference to MAS in SOEs and to some degree government agencies, and
an enactment of political not commercial rationalities are revealed during state
capitalism. MAS is not absent, nor is its potential ignored, but it often plays a
legitimating rather than a managerial function. The infusion of market capitalism, often at
the behest of external aid agencies, has spurred greater MAS development and usage for
commercial purposes, though political and coercive control can persist sometimes via
new regulatory structures. Research on MAS in private companies suggests that
economic liberalisation drives MASs development for commercial reasons but issues of
culture, ethnicity, corruption, coercion, and political patronage often still abound,
especially when families dominate ownership, and cultures are collectivist and inclined to
informal trust. There is little evidence of MASs unique to any LDC, rather locals adapt
them to local circumstances. The modest literature on governmental accounting, like its
counterpart on richer countries, often questions the effectiveness of rational economic
methods implicit in MAS and NPM reforms. Again, MAS adoption may promote
economic goals but not necessarily development goals like transparency, democracy,
quality of working life, employment, and increased state revenue. Elsewhere MAS
research is slight. So how might we fruitfully advance?
This review tried to cast its net widely but the task is not ended. Much vital MAS
research lies untapped in non-Western and non-English research outlets; reports by
governments, transnational governmental bodies like the World Bank and aid agencies;
and non accounting journals in development studies, public administration, and
management. Systematic literature reviews of these should yield further insights. Given
the lack of academic research in LDCs external institutions and governments often
commission policy papers from local academics or consultants - alternative academic
research funding is negligible and dividing academic and practice work an unaffordable
luxury in many LDCs. Discourse theory and textual analysis researchers are making
inroads into such material but they are a rich seam of information for others to exploit.
An important but mundane point concerns definitions. The term LDCs used here is too
broad: capitalisms vary and LDCs are not homogenous (or even sectors within them),
which makes generalisation dangerous. Whilst not denying the possible uniqueness of
each site, LDCs need more systematic classification, preferably built from cases,
according to say differences in wealth and its distribution; political systems, institutions,
ideologies, and policies; forms of capitalism; cultures, religions and ethnic differences;
degrees of corruption and effective governance; colonial inheritances and post-colonial
links; modes of production; and economic structures. Similarly, the definition of MASs
needs extending to incorporate features like trust, reciprocity, informality, power,
corruption, and accountability. We found defining MAS a struggle and often arbitrary
decisions on its boundaries were made, for example accountability, social processes, and
informal information and controls were included but not social and environmental
accounting. And does project management, a major development concern, lie within the
MAS remit? Given the pleas for better development project evaluation, not least
financial, it is surprising that MAS researchers and practitioners alike are so uninvolved
(see Abdeen, 1980 on this in Syria). Drawing boundaries around LDCs and MAS and
categorising their features has dangers if not carefully derived and tested empirically and
if it privileges quantitative over qualitative research but it would benefit comparative
analysis, systematic and cumulative knowledge acquisition, and bespoke prescription.
Much research is pragmatic and not explicitly theoretical. That which is not tends to be
influenced by social and critical theories, possibly because their methods are open,
grounded, process oriented and exploratory; give voice to neglected constituencies; are
sensitive to ethnocentricity, and address dynamic political issues ranging from ideology
and language to class struggle and globalisation. Exploratory bottom-up methods have
revealed a rich tapestry of socio-economic and political factors and institutions bearing
on MASs that mainstream research often neglects. For example, McNicholas and Barrett
(2005) argue that Maori research methodologies resemble critical theories seeking
emancipatory change to further democratic governance based on dialogue (Gallhofer and
Haslam, 2006). More ethnographic, participation observation and ‘action’ studies are
needed, especially on micro-organisations and sites where traditional cultures prevail, if
recurring clarion calls to adopt MAS practices accordingly are to materialise.
Triangulation and eclecticism over theories and research methods is required: research on
LDCs is too scarce to be ignored on grounds of methodological predilection.
Case studies have yielded rich pickings, will continue to do so, and often are the most apt
methods but more aggregated economic and contingency-type studies based on and
testing findings from fieldwork and practice are also needed as case studies have low
generalisation, and may inadvertently prioritise cultural and political factors over
economic or organisational ones. MAS research remains vague on what Western systems
are inapplicable to LDCs - is it in entirety, degree, or just parts (Baydoun and Willett,
1995): and when, where and how? In contrast, financial accounting research on LDCs
inclines to quantitative aggregate studies of the effect of factors like ownership,
competition, organisational size, unionisation, and stock exchange listing. For example,
Egyptian accounting development (emergence of profession and accounting education)
from 1961 to 1997 was related to the economic and political environment, stock market
development, and SOE privatization (Hassabelnaby, et al., 2003); African countries that
modified IASs to local conditions had higher economic growth rates than those ignoring
IASs (Larson, 1993) but economic growth and equity market development and adopting
IASs were negatively correlated in 27 LDCs (Larson and Kenny, 1995): investors in most
LDCs avoid high risk projects because weak capital markets without a well-developed
accounting infrastructure stymie diversification causing resource misallocation (Lee,
2001). However, little is known on whether such factors affect MASs either directly or
via financial accounting. One exception found timely release of audited final annual
reports by companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange related to access to modern
technology and strong internal controls (Owusu-Ansah, 2000). Greater interchange of
financial and MAS research in LDCs is needed blending the former’s survey skills and
findings with the case skills and results of the latter. Gaining reliable economic statistics
and organisational data in LDCs is notoriously difficult but, as financial accounting and
development economics show, not impossible. And whatever the research ilk, it must go
beyond studying inputs influencing MAS design and operation to examine outputs, i.e.
effectiveness criteria that include commercial outcomes but also development goals like
the quality of working life, health, employment generation, wages, environmental
protection, empowerment of women and minorities, transparency and good governance,
and tax revenues, to provide a more humanitarian platform for external intervention and
An example of triangulation benefits lies in contingency theory, which argues
environmental uncertainty may stymie formal, detailed long run planning and budgeting.
However, Caiden and Wildavsky (1974) argue that poverty breeds particular
uncertainties with distinct ramifications. For example, poor countries may lack skilled
personnel; be dependent on external commodity markets, donor institutions, and MNOs;
have few slack resources and no functional redundancies (i.e. can only afford one of
everything fail); weak infrastructures and unpredictable weather patterns; and limited
capacity to levy and collect taxes or acquire local finances. Responses to recurrent crises
may obliterate budget commitments and the uncertainty of poverty breeds conservatism,
for example people turn to their family or tribe for support or stockpile. This makes
planning expenditure difficult, leading to frequent budget failures, and politicians, often
from socio-economic elites committed to personalised rather than ideological politics,
may profess certain ideals or goals but not act on them (Grindle 1980), using budget
powers for political not economic ends. Caiden and Wildavsky even advocate banishing
planners, seeing their techniques as problems not solutions for they wrongly presume
feasible objectives; expose planners and politicians; make platitudinous and impractical
claims to rationality; are expensive, idealistic, and remote; and become all things to all
people. They argue that planned, programmed budgeting (PPBS) is dysfunctional and
encourages repetitive budgeting (annual scrutiny and approval of budget estimates occurs
but cash expenditure requires central line-by-line approval). Caiden and Wildavsky are
not anti-budgeting: indeed, they argue that budgeting supersedes and precedes planning
being shorter-term, and easier to change and enforce. Some contingency studies have
picked up the distinctive nature of uncertainty in LDCs (see Alam, 1997; Kattan, et al.,
2007; O’Connor, et al., 2006). For example, Hoque (1995) and Hoque and Hopper (1994)
found managers in Bangladesh SOEs dissatisfied with their budgets set centrally and
subsequently they played little part in day-to-day management. A contingency study on
the same site using variables derived inductively from this fieldwork established
associations between environmental factors (political climate, industrial relations,
competition, aid agencies, and government regulation) and budget factors (participation,
accountability, performance evaluation, financial analysis, interaction among managers,
and budget flexibility) (Hoque and Hopper, 1997). Alam (1997) when studying similar
organisations combined contingency and institutional theories to explicate similar
findings. Contingency studies have greater potential in LDCs when surveys are
triangulated with other theories and methods - especially qualitative investigations to
inductively identify factors for statistical investigation for conventional contingency
theory tends to be static; neglects processes, political relationships and history; lacks the
depth and rigour to study culture; and is essentially atheoretical.
MAS researchers mainly study large government and private organisations whereas
contemporary development policy and practice emphasises small and micro-organisations
- households, shopkeepers, money lenders, peasant agriculture, fishing, small firms; large
agricultural organisations like plantations and co-operatives; banks; and NGOs. This is
important, for increasingly development funding is channelled to micro-organisations
through microfinance providers like rural banks, cooperatives, and NGOs. Here
accounting needs blending with household and village exchange relations, their social
structures, and values and beliefs, to reduce poverty and empower marginal, less
powerful groups. Micro finance innovations in savings and credit services to poor and
low-income households and domestic or rural micro-enterprises provide fascinating
examples. For example, transaction costs must be minimal for small loans to say village
women wishing to develop domestic enterprises to be financially viable. Micro-finance
institutions have generated creative, simple and effective (but not invariably so) systems
to generate, assess, and repay loans to poor and disadvantaged groups using informal oral
social controls and accountability embedded in traditional cultures. However, much work
pertinent to accounting needs to be done, for example, building financial infrastructures
that support and sustain micro-finance institutions and programs, and induce more private
sector institutions to participate.
Little is known about MAS knowledge diffusion in LDCs - again most research is on
financial accounting. For example, professional expertise, education and training, legal
backing, and the proportion of MNOs to local companies influenced adoption of IASs in
Fiji, where harmonization may be irresistible given external pressures and insufficient
local resources and skills (Chand, 2005); Wallace (1990) claims accounting in LDCs is a
tale of continuous importation of Western practices and institutions by transnational
accounting firms and professional bodies, MNOs, international projects, and
recommendations of international accounting committees, with little evidence that
accounting techniques in rich and poor countries differ or that LDCs import inappropriate
practices - the problems are socio-economic and political not technical. In contrast, Hove
(1990) alleges that standardised accounting will not serve LDCs as it favours colonialism,
powerful foreign investors and MNOs, foreign aid, and professional accountancy
institutions from the developed world. There is material on the diffusion of financial
accounting and its social utility but whether this holds for MAS too remains unknown
Accounting in many LDCs remains influenced by professional bodies from former
imperial powers (see the Auditing, Accounting and Accountability Journal, 1999/3). For
example, English speaking Caribbean countries’ colonial ties with the UK are now being
supplanted by US influence (Chaderton and Taylor, 1993); Indian financial reporting
followed British lines until independence and the growth of an indigenous accounting
profession (Matson and Robson 1997); in Nigeria the accounting profession reflects local
politics, changing with military and civilian governments (Uche, 2002); in the Philippines
accounting changes by the USA colonial government met local resistance culminating in
distinctive local accounting (Dyball, et al., 2007, 2006); and LDC professional
development can follow racial and ethnic divides (see Sian, 2006, on Kenya, and
Annisette, 2000, 2003 on Trinidad and Tobago). Western accounting professional bodies,
including MAS ones, remain active in many LDCs, whereas others have developed
indigenous MAS professional bodies and educational institutions but we remain ignorant
of their operations and relative merits apart from work by Wickramasinghe et al, 2007)
on the diffusion of balanced scorecards by the Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants (CIMA) in Sri Lanka, which is seen as a globalisation process that failed in
the firm researched due to professional rivalries, the rise of alternative fads or techniques,
and the owner’s reluctance to relinquish older financial measurement tools.
Organisations like the World Bank, the IMF, United Nations, NGOs, and aid agencies
also influence MASs in LDCs but they and their knowledge diffusion role is neglected.
Saravanamuthu (2004) alleges that World Bank accounting cannot reconcile competing
stakeholder needs as it concentrates on economic necessities and neglects social and
environmental degradation but Annisette (2004) argues that such criticisms ignore
institutional pressures on the Bank to manage the global economy on private international
capital’s behalf, and how operational factors render socio-environmental goals marginal.
Whatever, research on aid institutions must link MAS activities in local sites to actions
by transnational governance bodies, treaties, professional and consulting firms, MNOs,
and international capital. For example, non-market institutions, including transnational
accounting firms and industry lobbies in Europe and the US, create a global market for
accounting and auditing services under the auspices of World Trade Organization
international trade agreements that negate domestic regulations licensing and
qualification requirements, and the technical standards reduce domestic regulation and
democratic economic governance (Arnold, 2005). Multinational audits promote
globalization by linking the local and the global: and their commercialization and conduct
facilitates audit firms’ diversification into business advisory services bringing new client
relationships (Barrett, et al., 2005). Such studies indicate the need for research on how
transnational financial institutions and governance produce and re-produce globalization
in everyday managerial practices like MASs.
Lastly, as Everett et al. (2007) indicate, accounting research neglects corruption.
Transparency International’s 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index reveals the most corrupt
countries are frequently LDCs and economists attribute low economic development to
this as it undermines democracy; values of trust and tolerance; erodes institutional
capacities of government and their legitimacy; impedes good governance by reducing
legislative accountability, distorts representation in policymaking, compromises the rule
of law; and brings unfair service provision in public administration. In extremity
corruption represents embezzlement of entrusted funds and booty capitalism diverts
domestic financial capital abroad (hence the stereotypical but sadly often accurate image
of African dictators with Swiss bank accounts). University of Massachusetts researchers
estimated capital flight from 1970 to 1996 from 30 sub-Saharan countries totalled
$187bn, which exceeds their external debts. Transparency International’s 2004 Global
Corruption Report estimates that Mohamed Suharto, President of Indonesia (1967–98)
embezzled US$15 to 35 billion; Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines (1972–
86) US$5 to 10 billion; and Joseph Estrada, President of the Philippines (1998–2001),
US$78 to 80 million. A Kenya human rights commission report claimed the government
spent $12 million on luxury vehicles for cabinet ministers and senior government
officials between January 2003 and September 2004, sufficient for one year’s
antiretroviral therapy for 147,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers. If corruption is commonplace it
can become the norm when businesses or citizens interact with government officials - in
some LDCs half of the population paid bribes during the previous year. The InterAmerican Development Bank claims that corruption devours 20% of government
procurement funds and 10 % of GDP in Latin America, which increases business costs
and risks of breached agreements; shields firms with connections from competition;
sustains inefficient firms; diverts public investment into unduly complex capital projects
where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful; reduces the quality of government
services and infrastructure; increases budgetary pressures on government; and impedes
compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations. For example, in 2005
accidents in Chinese private coal mines killed 6,000 workers often because regulators
were bribed to neglect unsafe conditions or part-owned the mines.
Accounting cannot resolve all the problems of poverty, injustice, and corruption but it is a
piece in the jigsaw of effective control, regulation, accountability, and the rule of law.
Corruption flourishes when there is little government transparency, no freedom of
information legislation, contempt for freedom of speech and the press, absent or
dysfunctional democracy, poorly-paid government officials, and illiterate populaces.
However, many LDCs lack needed financial and technical capacity, institutions are weak,
budget processes opaque and undemocratic, fiscal controls are lax, and public
participation opportunities limited, which encourages resource diversion from key social
priorities at early budgeting stages, resource allocations contrary to budget decisions, and
leakage of public funds masked by false financial statements. For example, World Bank
surveys in Uganda and Tanzania found up to 41% of central government resources
allocated to local councils were diverted to other uses or private pockets. In Ghana, only
20% of non-wage public health expenditures reached service delivery points. Such
problems are particularly acute when large amounts must be spent quickly, as with
disaster relief and HIV-AIDS funding.
Accountability requires public policies, practices and expenditures open to public and
legislative scrutiny and for civil society involvement in budget formulation, execution
and reporting. MASs should follow comprehensive, clear and simple accounting
standards and deliver timely, reliable and accurate information, reinforced by effective
supervision, auditing, and sanctions for financial misconduct to hold public officials
accountable and enable civil society to take action over irregularities. Participatory
budgeting enables more stakeholders to influence budget allocations, check spending
matches specified priorities, and monitor the quality of goods and services provided.
Such reforms bring results, for example, the Indian Right to Information Act 2005
‘engendered mass movements … bringing the lethargic, often corrupt bureaucracy to its
knees and changing power equations completely." (Jakarta Post, 31 August, 2006).
Publishing surveys and audit and accountability reports makes corrupt practices more
visible and enables public monitoring to challenge abuses and cultures of impunity. For
example, publishing monthly intergovernmental fund transfers in the Ugandan local
media reduced fund losses by 78%. Good, accessible financial information facilitates
benchmarking within and across governments, for example the Peruvian newspaper,
Ciudadanos al Dia, compares the transparency, costs, and efficiency of government
departments, and its annual best practice awards gain widespread media attention, which
encourages government agencies to compete. Information technology has a role, for
example submitting internet applications and tax returns for computer processing can
reduce corruption by reducing interactions with officials, speeding up decisions, and
reducing human errors. However, beneficiaries of corruption may resist better controls.
For example, cash registers in a Kenyan hospital could not be implemented until patient
fee collectors were fired and new personnel appointed. Within 3 months, user fee revenue
jumped 50% with no utilization effects, and within 3 years annual they were 400%
higher. In brief, MAS research needs to study corruption and build systems with
transparency and public scrutiny, local engagement, creative use of technology, and
strengthened regulatory institutions.
Corruption is not just a domestic concern for poor countries: rich countries, especially
Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA are net recipients of capital inflows
from LDCs lacking the resources and institutional infrastructure to effectively regulate
financial transgressions. Rich countries must make corrupt business practices abroad
illegal and subject to domestic audit with meaningful sanctions for transgressions; and
enforce legislation, often emanating from the United Nations concerning capital flows
into bank accounts, reducing bank secrecy, making MNO accounts transparent,
regulating on-shore and off-shore tax havens, sharing taxation returns with other
countries, enforcing international transfer pricing regulations, and protecting
‘whistleblowers’. MNOs, especially extractive ones, have particular responsibilities. In
the Democratic Republic of the Congo mining forms 25% of gross domestic product. It is
argued that contracts with MNOs have been too favourable, finances not transparent, and
tax evasion and corruption widespread. Today the state is bankrupt and reputable
companies must fill a vacuum left by the state regarding health, education and
infrastructure, and face difficult issues including whether to respond to government and
rebel threats and requests. The exploitation of societies lacking capitalist values or
institutions, effective regulation, and symmetrical bargaining power raises major ethical
issues for capitalist organisations operating overseas, their managers, governments
hosting MNO headquarters, international capital markets and accountants to fairly,
transparently and accurately assess profits, commissions and taxes due in particular
locales; help LDC governments strike economically sound contracts with MNOs; and
prevent environmental and social degradation. Caveat emptor cannot prevail in
inequitable situations. The professional responsibility of accountants and businesses, and
MAS researchers and research institutions transcends borders and should incorporate an
ethical and humanitarian dimension in the public interest. It should actively support say
NGO campaigns such as ‘Publish What You Pay’ launched in 2002 seeking greater
audited, transparent payments, receipts, and management of revenues from the extractive
sector; for discrepancies to be reconciled and resources used more effectively within
LDCs; greater combating of corruption; and improved corporate social responsibility, to
ensure a stable and secure supply of energy to world markets. MAS research has a
political dimension to prevent market-based regimes reverting to political patronage and
coercive controls.
Figure 1
Stages in Transition
(traditional indigenous mgt a/c?)
Colonial Despotism
Govt a/c
A/c for foreign cos.
Physical coercion
Independence (revolution)
State Capitalism
Mgt a/c for central
planning & control
Politicised State Capitalism
Loosely/decoupled mgt a/c
Political control
Market Capitalism
Structural adjustment
Mgt a/c for control
& efficiency
Politicised Market Capitalism?
Privatisations – varied results
Profit criteria not congruent with development aims
New avenues of politic control, e.g. regulation
Table 1
Regimes of control in ex-colonial LDCs: contextual factors and MASs
Mode of Production
& race:
and Law
TU and labour
Non-capitalist Agricultural &
domestic production. Small
owner class.
Divide &
rule tactics
based on
TUs illegal &
Colonial capitalist enterprises
in primary sector
Fair distribution
agricultural production.
Closed economy
State extraction of surplus.
Hegemony of political criteria
in commercial & production
Power with political
linked to trade unions.
Distribution follows power
and patronage
relations & distribution
urban cultures
& diversity.
More open &
partly basis
of party &
state central
regulation &
structures of
but captured
or ignored
state regulation
bargaining on
industry basis
Central bank
financing for
parties rather
Production &
state politics
state power,
& transparent
l Finance &
political party
Leaders from
political elite.
membership &
power in public
Strong external
labour markets.
Coercive control
based on racial
physical violence
Accounting for
HQ regulations
and control
budgeting within
national central
state planning
bargaining and
internal labour
practices only
Bank failures
Fiscal crises
of state lead
and reliance
on IMF/WB.
MAS irrelevant
political players
Domination of capital over
Wider income differentials
al families.
Crony capitalism.
& individual
economic selfbetterment.
supply side
Oriented to
Mediation of
cultures with
traditional &
Often the
political &
especially of
capture by
Trade Unions.
parties based
leaders from
Factionalism based
on regions ,
labour markets
between core &
co-opted into
political parties.
Lower labour
Export zones
Tight production
regulation &
capital markets
influences on
Private accounts,
physical budgets
Toothless trade
unions with low
bargaining power
coercive control
but no physical
Appendix one
Management accounting research papers by countries (72)
Africa (21):
Algeria (2) (Jones and Seffiance, 1992), (Ouibrahim and Scapens, 1989);
Egypt (3) (Hassan, 2005, (Kholeif et al., 2007), (van-Triest and Elshahat, 2007);
Ghana (2) (Rahaman and Lawrence, 2001), (Uddin and Tsamenyi, 2005);
Malawi (2) (Mserembo and Hopper, 2004), (Tambulasi, 2007);
Mauritius (1) (Soobaroyen and Sannassee, 2007);
Nigeria (2) (Olowo-Okere and Tomkins, 1998), (Asechemie and Ikeri, 1999);
South Africa (2) (Botha, 1995); (Waweru et al, 2004);
Tanzania (2) (Goddard and Assad, 2007) (Satta, 2006);
Uganda (1) (Awio, et al., 2007);
West Indies (1) Cowton and O’Shaughnessy, 1991);
Zambia (1) (Dixon et al., 2007);
África general (2) (Asechemie, 1996, 1997);
Asia (37):
Bangladesh (7) (Alam and Lawrence, 1994), (Alam, 1997), (Hoque, 1995) (Hoque and
Hopper, 1994, 1997), (Rahman, and Scapens, 1986), (Uddin and Hopper, 2001);
China (17) (Bromwich and Wang, 1991), (Chalos and O'Connor, 2004), (Chan and
Chow, 2001), (Chan et al., 2001), (Chu and Rask, 2002), (Chan and Lee, 1997), (Lin and
Yu, 2002), (Firth, 1996), (Liu and Pan, 2007), (Maschmeyer and Ji-Liang, 1990),
(O’Connor et al., 2004), (O’Connor et al., 2006), (Scapens and Yan,1993), (Scapens and
Ben-Ling, 1995), (Skousen and Yang, 1988), (Yan and Gray,1994), (Zhou,1988);
India (1) (Anderson and Lanen, 1999);
Indonesia (2) (Efferin and Hopper, 2007); (Marwata and Alam, 2006);
Malaysia (2) (Chun, 1996), (Tayles et al., 2007);
Pakistan (1) (Ansari and Bell, 1991);
Sri Lanka (5) (Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, forthcoming), (Jayasinghe and
Wickramasinghe,2007), (Wickramasinghe and Hopper, 2005), (Wickramasinghe et al.,
2004a); Wickramsinghe et al, 2007);
Thailand (1) (Virameteekul et al., 1995);
Taiwan (1) (Lee, 2001);
Australasia (3):
Fiji (2) (Alam et al., 2004) (Sharma and Lawrence, 2005);
Kiribati (1) (Dixon, 2004)
Latin America (6):
Brasil (1) (Guerreiro et al., 2006);
México (2) (Frucot and Shearon, 1991); (Leach-Lopez et al., 2007);
Unspecified or various (2) Collins et al. (1997) (Neu et al., 2006)
Venezuela (1) (Rivera, 1982);
Middle East (2):
Bahrain (1) (Joshi, 2000);
Palestine (1) (Kattan, Pike, and Tayles, 2007, JAOC);
Syria (1) (Abdeen, 1980)
Cross-continental/Global (3):
(Bokorski, 1997) (Hafsi and Thomas, 1988); (Cools et al., forthcoming)
In addition we found 21 general review papers apposite to management accounting in
LDCs with diffuse empirical grounding, namely (Aharoni, Y, 1981), (Belverd and
Needles, Jr., 1976), (Caiden and Wildavsky, 1974), (Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1995),
(Diamond, 2004), (Enthoven, 1982), (Ghartey, 1985), (Hafsi et al., 1987), (Hove, 1986),
(Lehman, 2007), (Maunders et al., 1990), (Mimba et al, 2007), (Mirghani, 1982),
(Murphy, forthcoming), (Ndzinge and Briston, 1999), (Needles, 1994), (O’Dwyer, 2005),
(Perera, 1989), (Rahman et al, 1997), (Samuels, 1990), (Vernon-Wortzel and Wortzel,
1989), (Wallace, 1990).
Appendix two
Sites of papers on management accounting in LDCs (96)
General review papers on accounting and development (15)
(Belverd and Needles, Jr., 1976), (Enthoven, 1982), (Ghartey, 1985), (Hove, 1990), (Lee,
2001), (Mirghani, 1982), (Needles, 1994), (Ndzinge and Briston, 1999), (Olowo-Okere
and Tomkins, 1998), (Perera, 1975, 1989), (Samuels, 1990), (Scapens and Ben-Ling,
1995), (Seiler, 1966), (Wallace, 1990)
Management accounting and control in SOEs including transition through full or
partial privatisation (32)
(Aharoni, 1981), (Alam, 1997), (Alam, and Lawrence, 1994), (Alam et al., 2004), (Botha,
1995), (Bromwich and Wang, 1991), (Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1995), (Hafsi et al.,1987),
(Hafsi and Thomas, 1988), (Hoque, 1995), (Hoque and Hopper, 1994, 1997), (Jones and
Seffiance, 1992), (Kholeif et al., 2007), (Lin and Yu, 2002), (Maschmeyer and Ji-Liang,
1990), (Maunders et al., 1990), (O’Connor et al., 2004), (O’Connor et al., 2006),
(Ouibrahim and Scapens, 1989), (Rahaman and Lawrence, 2001), (Scapens and Yan,
1993), (Sharma and Lawrence, 2005), (Skousen and Yang, 1988), (Uddin and Hopper,
2001), (Uddin and Tsamenyi, 2005), (van-Triest and Elshahat, 2007), (Vernon-Wortzel
and Wortzel, 1989), (Waweru et al., 2004), (Wickramasinghe and Hopper, 2005),
(Wickramasinghe et al., 2004), (Zhou,1988)
Large private companies and MNOs (15)
(Anderson and Lanen, 1999), (Can and Lee, 1997), (Chun, 1996), (Collins et al., 1997),
(Frucot and Shearon, 1991), (Guerreiro et al., 2006), (Joshi, 2000), (Leach-Lopez et al.,
2007), (Liu and Pan, 2007), (Rivera, 1982), (Tayles et al., 2007)
MNOs – transfer pricing: (Borkowski, 1997), (Chan and Chow, 2001), (Rahman, and
Scapens, 1986), (Cools et al., forthcoming), (Virameteekul et al., 1995)
Joint ventures (with foreign companies) (3)
(Chalos and O'Connor, 2004), (Firth, 1996), (Yan and Gray, 1994)
Indigenous SMEs (4)
(Ansari and Bell, 1991), (Efferin and Hopper, 2007), (Kattan et al., 2007), ,
(Wickramasinghe et al., 2007)
Plantations and agriculture (2)
(Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, forthcoming), (Cowton and O’Shaughnessy, 1991)
Microfinance (4)
(Dixon et al., 2007), (Jayasinghe and Wickramasinghe, 2007), (Satta, 2004, 2006)
Household accounting (2)
(Chan et al, 2001), (Asechmie and Ikiri, 1999)
Governmental accounting (15)
(Abdeen, 1980), (Awio et al., 2007), (Caiden and Wildavsky, 1974), (Chu and Rask,
2002), (Diamond, 2004), (Dixon, 2004), (Grindle, 1997), (Hassan, 2005), (Marwata and
Alam, 2006), (Mimba et al., 2007), (Mserembo and Hopper, 2004), (Neu et al., 2006),
(Olowo-Okere and Tomkins, 1998), (Rahman et al., 1997), (Tambulasi, 2007)
NGOs (4)
(Goddard and Assad, 2007), (Lehman, 2007), (O’Dwyer, 2005), (Soobaroyen and
Sannassee, 2007)
Appendix three
Research methods used to research management accounting in LDCs
Case studies - from observations through interviews to documentary analysis (45)
(Abdeen, 1980), (Alam, 1997), (Alam and Lawrence,1994), (Alam et al., 2004),
(Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, forthcoming), (Ansari and Bell, 1991) (Asechemie,
1997), (Awio et al., 2007), (Caiden and Wildavsky, 1974), (Chan et al., 2001), (Chan and
Lee, 1997), (Chu and rask, 2002), (Cools et al., forthcoming), (Dixon, 2004), (Dixon et
al., 2007), (Efferin and Hopper, 2007), (Goddard and Assad, 2007), (Grinde, 1997),
(Guerreiro et al., 2006), (Hafsi and Thomas, 1988) (Hassan, 2005), (Hoque and Hopper,
1997), (Jayasinghe and Wickramasinghe, 2007, (Jones and Seffiance, 1992), (Kattan et
al., 2007), (Kholeif et al., 2007), (Lin and Yu, 2002), (Liu and Pan, 2007), (Marwata and
Alam, 2006), (Neu et al., 2006), (O’Dwyer, 2005), (Olowo-Okere and Tomkins, 1998),
(Ouibrahim and Scapens, 1989), (Rahaman and Lawrence, 2001), (Rahman, and Scapens,
1986), (Satta, 2006), (Sharma and Lawrence, 2005), (Tambulasi, 2007), (Uddin and
Hopper, 2001), (Uddin and Tsamenyi, 2005), (Waweru et al., 2004), (Wickramasinghe
and Hopper, 2005), (Wickramasinghe et al., 2004), (Wickramasinghe et al, 2007), (Yan
and Gray,1994)
Field study and questionnaires (7)
(Anderson and Lanen, 1999), (Chalos andO'Connor, 2004), (Chan and Chow, 2001),
(Hoque, 1995), (Hoque and Hopper, 1994), (Tayles et al., 2007), (Soobaroyen and
Sannassee, 2007)
Questionaires (10)
(Borkowski, 1997), (Firth, 1996), (Chun, 1996) (Frucot and Shearon, 1991), (O’Connor
et al., 2004), (Collins et al., 1997), Joshi 2000), (Leach-Lopez et al., 2007), (O’Connor et
al., 2006), (van-Triest and Elshahat, 2007), (Virameteekul, et al., 1995)
Experiental (1)
(Diamond, 2004)
Desk study and documentary analysis (21)
(Aharoni, 1981), (Asechemie and Ikiri, 1999), (Bromwich and Wang, 1991), (Cook and
Kirkpatrick, 1995), (Cowton and O’Shaughnessy, 1991), (Enthoven, 1982), (Lee, 2001),
(Lehman, 2007), (Maschmeyer and Ji-Liang, 1990), (Maunders et al., 1990), (Mimba et
al., 2007), (Mirghani, 1982), (Mserembo and Hopper, 2004), (Rahman et al, 1997),
(Rivera,1982), (Satta, 2004), (Scapens and Yan, 1993), (Scapens and Ben-Ling, 1995),
(Seiler, 1966), (Skousen and Yang, 1988), (Zhou,1988)
In addition we found 13 papers apposite to management accounting (financial accounting
or accounting/ development) in LDCs: (Belverd and Needles, Jr., 1976), (Botha, 1995),
(Ghartey,1985), (Hove, 1986), (Hafsi and Thomas, 1988), (Hafsi et al., 1987), (Ndzinge
and Briston, 1999), (Needles, 1994), (Perera, 1975, 1989), (Samuels, 1990), (VernonWortzel and Wortzel, 1989), (Wallace, 1990)
Appendix four
Theorising management accounting in LDCs (80)
Economics (3)
(Chan and Chow, 2001), (Maschmeyer and Ji-Liang, 1990), (Rahman and Scapens, 1986)
Development economics (4)
(Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1995), (Lee, 2001), (Satta, 2004, 2006)
Ethnography/grounded theory/action/hermeneutics (10)
(Ansari and Bell, 1991), (Awio et al., 2007), (Dixon, 2004), (Efferin and Hopper, 2007),
(Goddard and Assad, 2007), (Jayasinghe and Wickramasinghe, 2007), (Liu and Pan,
2007), (Marwata and Alam, 2006), (Rahaman and Lawrence, 2001), (Wickramasinghe et
al., 2007)
Governmentality (Foucault/Bourdieu/structuration theory/accountability) (6)
(Dixon et al., 2007), (Jones and Seffiance, 1992), (Neu et al., 2006), (O’Dwyer, 2005),
(Ouibrahim and Scapens, 1989), (Uddin and Tsamenyi, 2005)
Labour process/political economy/Gramscian (8)
(Alam et al., 2004), (Alawattage and Wickramasinghe, forthcoming), (Asechemie, 1997),
(Lehman, 2007), (Olowo-Okere and Tomkins, 1998), (Uddin and Hopper, 2001),
(Wickramasinghe and Hopper, 2005), (Wickramasinghe et al., 2004)
Institutional theory (4)
(Firth, 1996), (Hassan, 2005), (Kholeif et al., 2007), (Soobaroyen and Sannassee, 2007)
Institutional theory and contingency theory/MCS theories (6)
(Alam, 1997); (Alam. and Lawrence, 1994), (Cools et al., forthcoming), (Guerreiro et al.,
2006), (Hoque and Hopper, 1997), (Sharma and Lawrence, 2005)
Contingency theory/RAPM/statistical (12)
(Chun, 1996), (Anderson and Lanen, 1999), (Chalos and O'Connor, 2004), (Frucot and
Shearon, 1991), (Collins et al., 1997), (Hoque, 1995), (Joshi, 2000), (Kattan et al., 2007),
(Leach-Lopez et al., 2007), (O’Connor et al., 2004), (O’Connor et al., 2006), (Waweru et
al., 2004)
Public administration (3)
(Caiden and Wildavsky, 1974), (Mserembo and Hopper, 2004), (Tambulasi, 2007)
GST/ social psychology (3)
(Aharoni, 1981), (Baydoun and Willett, 1995), (Yan and Gray, 1994)
No explicit theory (21)
(Abdeen, 1980), (Asechemie and Ikiri, 1999), (Borkowski, 1997), (Bromwich and Wang,
1991), (Chan and Lee, 1997), (Chu and Rask, 2002), (Cowton and O’Shaughnessy,
1991), (Diamond, 2004), (Enthoven, 1982), (Lin and Yu, 2002), (Maunders et al., 1990)
(Mimba et al., 2007), (Mirghani, 1982), (Rahman et al, 1997) (Rivera,1982), (Scapens
and Yan, 1993), (Scapens and Ben-Ling, 1995), (Skousen and Yang, 1988), (Tayles et
al., 2007), (van-Triest and Elshahat, 2007), (Virameteekul et al., 1995)
We found another 15 papers apposite to management accounting (financial reporting or
accounting/ development) in LDCs with no explicit theory: (Belverd and Needles, Jr.,
1976), (Botha, 1995), (Ghartey, 1985), (Grindle, 1997), (Hasi and Thomas, 1988), (Hafsi
et al., 1987), (Hove, 1990), (Ndzinge and Briston, 1999), (Needles, 1994), (Perera, 1975,
1989), (Samuels, 1990), (Seiler, 1966), (Vernon-Wortzel and Wortzel, 1989), (Wallace,
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