This paper provides a conceptual comparison between the mainstream strategic management accounting literature, the accounting and strategising literature and strategic management accounting (SMA) in close inter-organisational relationships. It concludes that SMA in close inter-organisational relationships shares some important characteristics with the accounting and strategising literature. Important differences were found, too, though. These mainly concerned the need to understand individuals working for close partners as preparers of strategic information; the need for disaggregated accounting information about unique connections to close partners and about the role of indirect benefits that follow from close connections and the need for the company to not only collect information but also disperse diverse information within close inter-organisational relationships. Through an intensive case study of a global robot manufacturer, Robotics, this paper also provides novel empirical evidence on SMA in close inter-organisational relationships. For instance, SMA practices included indirect benefits, something mainly neglected in the existing literature on SMA. These indirect benefits involved a close customer's willingness to invest time and effort in Robotics technological development, thereby contributing to Robotics ability to attain revenue gains in its interactions with other customers. Our findings also have important implications for the inter-organisational accounting literature, for instance, by highlighting the need to link more explicitly strategic decision-making with the current interest in the role of accounting in inter-organisational dynamics.
- Close inter-organisational relationships
- Inter-organisational accounting
- Strategic management accounting