Explaining the Role of Management Accounting Information System in Strategy Formulation with Actors Network Approach

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate of Accounting, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran (Corresponding author)

3 Assistant Professor, Islamic Azad University, Noor Branch, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Iran

5 Associate Professor, Islamic Azad University, Central Branch, Tehran, Iran


The real challenge of business environment is derived from a situation where organizations need to find opportunities on how to introduce ideas and new products to market that provide future earnings stream. Management accounting is used as a tool in this process and provides information on opportunities and threats.
The purpose of this research is to explain the role of management accounting information system in the process of strategy formulation with actors’ network theory approach. Actor network theory is a valuable approach to improve understanding the power of each actors in management accounting system in the process of strategy formulation and helps to increase our understanding of the actors, intermediaries hidden in it and how they interact in making the network.
This research is a descriptive correlational study and its required data have been collected through a questionnaire conducted among 400 financial managers of commercial companies at Tehran in 2017 and the hypotheses testing was performed using non-parametric binomial test. The results obtained show that actors in management accounting system play a key role in the process of formulating organizational strategy. This result suggests that the actors are regarded as interventionists able to influence and change strategic decisions in actor approach contrary to the traditional approach where management accountants are simply considered a scorer or historian.


1)     Due to the limitations of the social science studies, which are based on survey data, and also factors like organizational structure, organizational technology, organizational culture, and environmental uncertainty that is pertinent to the traditional management accounting practices, the results of this research cannot be generalized to the whole community.
2)     Prolongation of the research time may affect the accuracy of the respondents and some people have refused to provide real answers.
3)     This research has been done in a cross-sectional manner, and hence, makes it difficult making conclusion about causality.
Suggestion for future research is as follows:
1)     It is suggested to researchers by utilizing the structure of the current study; explore the role of other accounting areas such as financial accounting, financial management, or auditing in IT environments using the actors-network approach. Research on the other aspects of accounting and finance, such as capital budgeting, cash management, credit control, asset management and so on, can be another route for research on human and technological interactions.
2)     The current research has been conducted from the perspective of the actor network, but further research can be done on other alternative theoretical perspectives such as contingency, institutional, accountability, structure, or agency and behavioral research, such as the theory of planned behavior.
3)     Since the actors-network theory considers adequate weight for human and technical actors and does not differentiate them, it seems that the application of this theory to research on issues such as BSC, JIT, ERP, environmental accounting, and similar issues, such as corporate social responsibility bring forth interesting results.
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