For which purposes do managers use the balanced scorecard?

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The accounting literature frequently publishes articles that establish the adoption rates of accounting information systems, such as the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) or Activity-Based Costing, and subsequently examines the factors that drive this adoption. However, much less is known about the specific purposes for which these systems are used. In this paper, I examine the purposes for which managers use the Balanced Scorecard. Data was collected from a survey administered in 19 Dutch firms which had indicated that they used a BSC. The survey resulted in 224 responses from individual managers. Using exploratory factor analysis on Doll and Torkzadeh's [Doll, W.J., Torkzadeh, G., 1998. Developing a multidimensional measure of system-use in an organizational context. Information and Management 33, 171-185.] instrument of multidimensional MIS usage, I find that managers use the BSC for: (1) decision-making and decision-rationalizing; (2) coordination; and (3) self-monitoring. In the second step, I consider drivers of BSC usage for the three different purposes. These drivers are dimensions of evaluation style, alternative controls that are used in the organizational unit, and the receptiveness of managers to new types of information. I find that BSC usage for decision-making and decision-rationalizing purposes is driven by the degree of action controls used and manager's receptiveness to new information types. BSC usage for coordination purposes is driven by the emphasis placed on managerial evaluation of subordinates and the manager's receptiveness to new types of information. Finally, BSC usage for self-monitoring purposes is driven by the emphasis placed on managerial evaluation. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-251
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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