A Social Network Analysis of the Literature on Management Control

K. J. Euske, James W. Hesford, and Mary A. Malina
Journal of Management Accounting Research, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 259-283.

This paper investigates the literature on management control published in accounting and management journals. Social network analysis of citation data from the 25-year period 1981-2005 enables us to examine topics and ties among researchers. Social ties have important consequences for the development of the literature, shaping topics, research methods and the diffusion of knowledge. We observe minimal communication between the two disciplines, appearing as two distinct communities despite similar interests. This lack of communication includes citations and authoring across the two disciplines. When citations across disciplines occur, it is almost exclusively accounting authors citing management authors, not vice versa. There is virtually no joining of accounting and management scholars within social networks. Within the two broader communities there also exist smaller research clusters. While we cannot determine the impact this has on our understanding of management control, we discuss possible reasons for this phenomenon and its potential implications for management control research.