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How the BSC implementation process shapes its outcome

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Purpose ‐ This paper has the aim of understanding how the reasons behind the adoption of the balanced scorecard (BSC) and the approaches undertaken during the entire change process influence the outcome, both in terms of BSC structure and use. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research studies the BSC change process and its use, adopting a multiple case study methodology which has been conducted in seven medium-to-large Italian non-financial companies. The results have been analysed from an institutional perspective, considering the management accounting change process and its outcome not only as a technical problem, but also as a broader organizational issue. Findings ‐ The results show the interdependence between the change process, which is influenced by organizational forces, and its outcome. Different reasons for the adoption and different approaches in the design and implementation give rise to different BSC structures and styles of use. Research limitations/implications ‐ The case study methodology that has been adopted does not allow the results to be generalized. Further research is needed to examine the BSC change process in order to support the findings. Practical implications ‐ The findings could help managers decide when to introduce the BSC. Depending on how they use the device, they could become aware of the most suitable approach to adopt during the change process, a key feature in translating techniques into practice. Originality/value ‐ The paper explains the reasons behind the high fluidity of practice, considering the approach adopted during the management accounting change process.
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Keywords: Balanced scorecard; Change management; Management accounting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 18 January 2011

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