The Role of accounting information in decision-making processes in a German dairy cooperative

Eva Heidhues, Chris Patel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


International management accounting research has largely examined the use of accounting information in relation to decision-making strategies of top managers by focusing on evidence in the Anglo-American contexts. However, very little rigorous research has been conducted in other countries, which may have different historical, political, economic and social contexts largely because of the assumption that these Anglo-American strategies and practices are equally applicable and relevant in other countries. Rejecting these simplistic assumptions, this study examines the role of accounting information in a German cooperative and examines the political and economic aspects of decision-making by top managers. The objective is to show how the board of directors and senior managers use accounting information as part of their decision-making strategies and importantly how this use of accounting information is influenced by Germany’s unique political, cultural, economic, social, legal and historical environment. This case study applies institutional theory in order to analyse the impact and influence of the broader institutional environment on accounting and its role in decision-making. Indeed, this case study of a German dairy cooperative, provides evidence of the uniqueness of decision-making strategies in Germany and identifies the integration of accounting and specific strategic objectives in the decision-making process. The findings indicate a greater focus on understanding important contextual influences than a dependency on narrowly defined technical aspects of accounting information. Additionally, strategies, long-term orientation and greater focus on participation are of particular importance. Moreover, decisions are based to a greater extent on both quantitative and qualitative data, which are evaluated in relation to the broader environment. In light of the ongoing globalisation process, the awareness of differences in decision-making processes will contribute to a better understanding of the role of management accounting in the globalising world. This research has significant implications for the international application of management accounting procedures and practices in decision-making processes. Multinational enterprises, governments and researcher would benefit from such insights into the utilisation of accounting information in various national contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Accounting & Business 2008
EditorsChristina Han
Place of PublicationChina
PublisherEast China University of Science & Technology
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventInternational Conference on Accounting and Business (10th : 2008) - Shanghai, China
Duration: 6 Jun 20088 Jun 2008


ConferenceInternational Conference on Accounting and Business (10th : 2008)
CityShanghai, China


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