theory suggests that an accounting information system should be
designed in a flexible manner so as to consider the environment and
organizational structure confronting an organization. Accounting
information systems also need to be adapt to the specific decisions
being considered. In other words, accounting information systems need
to be designed within an adaptive framework.
The first paper to specifically
focus on the contingency view of accounting information systems in the
accounting literature was "A Contingency Framework for the Design of
Accounting Information Systems,"
Accounting, Organizations and Society
, Vol.1, No. 1, pp. 59-69 (1976), by Lawrence A. Gordon and Danny
Miller. This paper laid out the basic framework for considering
accounting information systems from a contingency perspective.
In a later paper, by Lawrence A.
Gordon and V.K. Narayanan entitled "Management Accounting Systems,
Perceived Environmental Uncertainty and Organization Structure: An
Empirical Investigation," published in
Accounting, Organizations and Society , Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 33-47 (1984), it was shown that environmental
uncertainty is a fundamental driver for designing management
accounting systems among successful organizations. A key finding in
this study was that, as decision makers perceive greater environmental
uncertainty, they tend to seek more external, nonfinancial and
information in addition to internal, financial and
information. This latter finding has been confirmed by several
studies that followed the Gordon and Narayanan paper.
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