A Contingent Perspective on Management Accounting Systems in Family Firms

Posch, Arthur (January 2017). A Contingent Perspective on Management Accounting Systems in Family Firms (Unpublished) Wien: Vienna University of Economics and Business 10.2139/ssrn.2902526

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This study analyzes both theoretically and empirically management accounting system choices in family firms with family CEOs in comparison to non-family firms and family firms with external CEOs. After theorizing differences with regard to both decision-facilitating (timeliness of management accounting information) and decision-influencing (objective performance evaluation, target specificity, target deviation tolerance) management controls, I argue that family CEOs with a propensity for technocratic decision making are better capable of balancing family and business perspectives. This implies that technocratic decision making weakens the family effect on management accounting system choices. Drawing on a dataset of 190 Austrian small and medium-sized firms from the manufacturing industry the results indicate idiosyncratic behavior of family firms in terms of management accounting system choices. Furthermore, the results corroborate the hypothesis that technocratic decision making moderates the family effect on management accounting systems. Finally, I also conduct an exploratory performance analysis to shed more light on the performance effects of management accounting systems in family firms. The findings indicate that only timeliness of management accounting information displays a significant positive effect while the decision-influencing management controls are not related to firm performance.

Item Type:

Working Paper


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute for Accounting and Controlling > Controlling

UniBE Contributor:

Posch, Arthur


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics


Vienna University of Economics and Business




Lynn Carole Selhofer

Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2019 11:43

Last Modified:

17 Jul 2019 11:43

Publisher DOI:




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