BE131 Advanced Management Accounting

Autumn 2016

Coursework (30% of overall module mark)

“…managers who place reliance on motivating appropriate subordinate behaviour by setting
quantitative performance targets and emphasizing these above all else, should not be surprised
if such targets are attained by a variety of (often unobserved) behaviours that are often
dysfunctional to the achievement of overall organizational objectives.”

(Otley, 2016: p.49)
Otley, D., 2016. The contingency theory of management accounting and control: 1980-2014.
Management Accounting Research, 31, pp.45-62. (NB: A copy of this article is available on Moodle)

Coursework task
Read Otley (2016) plus at least ten (10) other relevant journal articles (or other scholarly
publication) on management accounting and control. You may find these articles by referring to
those cited in Otley (2016) as well as the module’s reading list (downloadable from Moodle). A
collection of Otley’s work on the topic is also available from the library.
Based on your research and readings on the topic, critically evaluate the following statement:

“To succeed in today’s highly uncertain environment, business organisations should never
rely completely on a control system that emphasises financial (or quantitative) targets.”

Please read the following instructions carefully:
 Essays should not exceed 1,500 words (excluding list of references, tables/pictures and
appendices). You must indicate total word count on the first/cover page. Any essay that
exceed this limit by more than 10% may be penalized by marking it down one grade lower
(e.g., from B to B minus).
 Essays must be typed with 12pt Arial or Times New Roman font, 1.5 spaced.
 Essays should be written in an appropriate academic format. The following structure is
o Introduction (100-200 words) – i.e., what is the key focus/argument of your essay?
o Body (1,000-1,250 words) – i.e., ideas and elaboration with appropriate sub-headings
o Conclusion (100-200 words) – i.e., overall reflection on the topic and concluding argument
o References – Harvard referencing format is recommended. You are encouraged to use
reference management software (e.g., Endnote, Mendeley, etc.) where possible.
o Appendices – if applicable
 Refer to information on Moodle for FASer and hard-copy submission details. All submitted
essays will be subjected to plagiarism check via FASer.
 Remember that essays that obtain high marks will demonstrate that they have engaged in the
descriptive, analytical and reflective/critical requirements of the question. More details on the
assessment/grading criteria can be found on Moodle.


Over the years the business environment has increasing become uncertain and fluid as a result of many changes in the world.  These changes are precipitated to by various factors which include globalization, technological innovations, changing lifestyles, cultural practices and beliefs, as well as internationalization of business organizations (Alkaraan & Northcott 2006). To survive in this environment and remain productive and profitable, businesses must learn and prepare ahead of time so as to be able to adapt to the changes that may arise. Different firms have different methods of achieving their business objectives according to the sector or industry that they operate in. Some companies put more emphasis on setting quantitative performance targets and focusing on them above all other things. According to Otley (2016) such firms should not be surprised if the targets are achieved through a set of other means that are most often dysfunctional to the attainment of overall goals of an organization.