Management Accounting Research: Mainstream versus Alternative Approaches


  • Claudio de Araujo Wanderley Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • John Cullen The University of Sheffield


management accounting, research, alternative approaches positivist accounting research


The objective of this study is to present the management accounting research field by analysing the differences between mainstream and alternative approaches. Research in the field of management accounting can be characterised by its methodological diversity which includes interpretive research, critical research and the traditional functionalist and positivist research. A variety of research methods have also been used, including surveys, fieldwork, case studies and ethnographic studies, as well as studies that have adopted a more conventional quantitative approach, such as contingency-type studies. In addition, researchers have drawn on a wide range of theories, including traditional positivistic theories, such as economic theory and contingency theory, and alternative theories, such as institutional theory, structuration theory, actor network theory, middle-range thinking, labour process theory, political economy, and Foucault’s theory. Therefore, management accounting is a heterogenic field of research with a non-dominant paradigm. Finally, it was advocated that alternative studies are more adequate than mainstream research, because the latter fails to locate management accounting as a social practice.

Biografia do Autor

Claudio de Araujo Wanderley, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

John Cullen, The University of Sheffield

Management School


Arquivos adicionais



Como Citar

WANDERLEY, C. de A.; CULLEN, J. Management Accounting Research: Mainstream versus Alternative Approaches. Contabilidade Vista & Revista, [S. l.], v. 22, n. 4, p. 15–44, 2013. Disponível em: Acesso em: 17 jun. 2024.

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