4. Discuss the key factors that would be considered in determining whether a cost
variance should be investigated.
5. Examine the interrelationships of budgeting, creativity and culture and discuss
the implications of such interrelationships for management control systems.
6. Contingency theory has played a significant role in the management accounting
literature of the past two decades. Critically examine the role of contingency
theory in contemporary management accounting thinking.
7. Various writers have commented upon the prerequisites for control, that is, the conditions and control system features that must be in place before effective control
may take place. Identify and explain the prerequisites necessary for accounting control and analyse the difficulties that might be experienced in achieving them.
8. Discuss the interrelationships between principal–agent theory and performance
measurement systems within multinational corporations.
9. Critically compare the interpretations of management accounting history of the
‘relevance lost’ and ‘traditional/classical’ schools of thought, commenting on the
implications of such interpretations for the practice of management accountants.
10. The theory of constraints as described by Eliyah Goldratt, has generated some
interest in management accounting circles in recent years. Critically examine the
conceptual basis of the theory of constraints and evaluate its usefulness to management accounting practitioners.
11. The focus of management accounting research has moved, in recent years, away
from a prescriptive/normative mode towards more prescriptive/analytical approaches.
Identify the factors influencing this change in research focus, and assess their
12. Preston (1995) suggests that relationships exist between budgeting, creativity
and culture. Examine the influence of budgetary processes and styles on creativity within an organisation and explain the associated consequences for strategic
13. ‘The management accountant’s role is that of a servant of managers, assisting
them by supplying appropriate information. Management accountants thus have
little need to consider ethical or empowerment issues.’ Give, and justify, your
opinion on this statement.
14. Evaluate the significance of principal–agent theory for management accountants
and outline its conceptual and practical limitations.
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15. Why would anyone take the trouble to study the history of management accounting?
Identify the benefits and beneficiaries of such a study, examining critically the
work already carried out in this area.
16. Several writers have drawn attention to the ‘contingent variables’ which determine
management accounting information systems. Identify, and discuss the significance of, such contingent variables and examine the practical value of the contingency theory of management accounting.
17. Various views exist on whether management accounting has been reactive or
proactive in the development of western businesses. Critically analyse the role
played by management accounting in shaping the evolution of businesses in
western economies, and comment on the views of the ‘labour process’ school of
18. Coad (1999) proposed that the personal orientation of management accountants
might affect their choice and application of management accounting systems.
Evaluate this proposition.
19. Two theories prominent in management accounting thought are principal–agent
theory and contingency theory. For one of these theories: