• Management accounting;
  • Organizational behaviour;
  • Organizational change

Kaplan (1984) claimed that there has been little innovation in the last sixty years in the design and implementation of management accounting systems. Current systems lag changes in manufacturing processes. This paper provides a framework to explain that this lag in organizations may be due to the perceived greater complexity and lesser relative advantage, compatibility, trialability and observability of administrative (e.g., accounting) innovations as compared with technical innovations. The empirical research not only supports the existence of an accounting lag, but also suggests that there may be a substantial reward for those organizations that can remedy it.