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Management concepts in general and management accounting in particular may be studied in three contexts: practical, textbook and research. This paper shows that the three contexts are connected and a common image of management accounting is presented. Drawing from twelve American management accounting textbooks and one research article (2003) that analysed research within management accounting; 24 questions were asked to 130 out of the 200 largest Swedish companies. Results indicate that the major focus of textbooks is calculation. This focus is missing in management accounting research, but interestingly companies do not put a high value on it. It is also possible to identify several relationships showing organizations that encourage employee's participation and commitment can attain a higher level of satisfaction and performance in relation to budget