Document Type : Original Research


ENCG Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco


The aim of this paper is to present the main results of an empirical study done in Morocco and attempts to highlight the impact of the perceived environmental uncertainty on the activity based costing implementation and its performance according to the perceived environmental uncertainty. Data were collected from 62 Moroccan firms, operating in different sectors, via a questionnaire survey. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression and Student's t-test for a difference in means were used to analyse data. The results showed that 12.9% of the responding companies used ABC. The results using logistic regression indicate that the PEU influences significantly and positively the use of the ABC. Also, we found that the management accounting system based on ABC method results in a better performance for enterprises that have adopted it. Finally, we demonstrated that the firms operating in an uncertain and dynamic environment have an interest to adopt this new method of the management accounting, but the firms operating in a certain and stable environment are indifferent between adopting and not adopting this method. This research adds to the understanding of the factors explaining the adoption of management accounting innovations such as ABC, basically in a new context like Morocco. The context of the study and the characteristics of the innovation are important factors in explaining its adoption. These two factors must be taken into account when choosing a costing system. This type of work is almost absent in African countries. Previous research has studied perceived environmental uncertainty in the context of innovations other than ABC. The outcomes of the study are relevant to the literature on both ABC implementation and performance of ABC, since they determine that the use of ABC results in improving in firm’s performance.


Alcouffe, S. (2002), La diffusion de l’ABC en France : une étude empirique utilisant la théorie de la diffusion des innovations, 23rd Congress of the French Association of Accounting, Toulouse, May.
Armitage, H. M. and Nicholson, R. (1993), Activity based costing: a survey of Canadian practice, Issue paper n° 3, Society of Management Accountants of Canada.
Banker, R. D., Bardhan, I. R. and Chen, T. (2008), The role of manufacturing practices in mediating the impact of activity-based costing on plant performance, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33 (1):1-19.
Bergeron, H. and Bélaïd, Z. (2006), Pratiques de calcul des coûts, utilisation de l’information et performance dans les PME manufacturières, 27th Congress of the Francophone Association of Accounting, Tunis.
Byrne, S., Stower, E. & Torry, P. (2009).'Is ABC Adoption a Success in Australia?' The Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research, 7(1), 37-51.
Bescos P.-L., Cauvin E (2000), L’ABC/ABM: où en est-on actuellement? Echanges, 168: 23-26.
Bescos, P.L., Cauvin, E., Gosselin, M. and Yoshikawa, T. (2001), La  mise en place de la méthode ABC/ABM au Canada, en France et au  Japon – Étude comparative, 22nd Congress of the French Association of Accounting, Metz, May.
Bescos, P-L., Cauvin, E. and Gosselin, M. (2002), Activity-Based          Costing and Activity Based Management: a comparison of the practices in Canada and France, Revue Comptabilité-Contrôle-Audit, numéro special, mai: 229-244.
Bjornenak, T. (1997), Diffusion and accounting: the case of ABC in Norway, Management Accounting Research, 8 (1): 3-17.
Brown, L. A. (1981), Innovation diffusion: A new perspective, New York: Methuen.
Cauvin, E. and Neumann, B. (2007), French Cost Accounting Methods:  ABC and other Structural Similarities, Journal of Cost Management, May-June.
Chenhall, R. H. and Langfield-Smith, K. (1998), The relationship between strategic priorities, management techniques and management accounting: an empirical investigation using a systems approach, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 23 (3): 243-264.
Chenhall, R.H. (2003), Management Control Systems Design within its Organizational Context; Findings from Contingency-based Research and Directions for the Future, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 28(2/3): 127–168.
Chongruksut, W. and Brooks A., (2005), The adoption and implementation of activity-based costing in Thailand, Asian Review of Accounting 13 (2): 1-17.
Cooper, R. (1990), Implementing an Activity-Based Costing System, Journal of Costing Management, spring: 33-42.
Al-Omiri, M. & Drury, C. (2007). A survey of factors influencing the choice of product costing systems in UK organizations. Management Accounting Research, 18(4), 399-424.
Askarany, D. & Smith, M. (2008). Diffusion of innovation and business size: a longitudinal study of PACIA. Managerial Auditing Journal, 23(9), 900-916.
Dahlgren, J., Holmström, M. and Nehler, H. (2001), Activity Based Costing diffusion and adoption, congress EAA, Athens.
De La Villarmois, O. and Tondeur, H. (1996), L’ABC en France : les déterminants de la mise en place, Echanges, Supplément au n° 125 : 51-62.
Donaldson, L. (1996), The normal science of structural contingency theory, in Handook of organizational theory, ed. Clegg S.R., Hardy C. & Nord W.R.: 57-76
Drury, C. and Tayles, M. (1994), Product costing in UK manufacturing organizations, The European Accounting Review, 3(3): 443-469.
Dugdale, D. (1990), The Uses of Activity-Based Costing, Management Accounting, October: 36-38.
Elhamma A. (2010), La comptabilité par activités au Maroc : une étude empirique utilisant la théorie de la contingence, Revue du chercheur 8 : 39-48.
Fisher, J. (1995), Contingency-Based Research on Management Control Systems: Categorization by Levels of Complexity, Journal of Accounting Literature, 14: 24-53.
Foster, G. and Swenson, D. W. (1997), Measuring the Success of Activity-Based Cost Management and its Determinants, Journal of Management Accounting Research, 9: 109-141.
Gosselin, M. (1997), The effect of strategy and organisational structure on the adoption and implementation of accounting-based costing, Accounting, Organisations and Society 22 (2): 105-122.
Gosselin, M. (2000), Influence de la stratégie sur l’adoption et la mise en œuvre d’une comptabilité par activités, Finance, Contrôle et Stratégie, 3(4) : 37-56.
Gueye, M. (1997), Contribution à la réflexion sur la mise en place d’outils d’analyse de gestion adaptés au contexte actuel des entreprises - L’approche par les activités et les processus : l’exemple de la France, Thèse de Doctorat, Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris.
Hopper, T. and Powell, A. (1985), Making sense of research into organizational and social aspects of management accounting: a review of its underlying assumptions, Journal of Management Studies 22 (5): 429-465.
Gordon, L. A., and K. J. Silvester (1999). “Stock market reactions to activity-based costing adoptions,” Journal of Accounting & Public Policy, Vol. 18(3), Autumn, pp. 229-251.
Innes, J. and Mitchell, F. (1991), Activity based costing: a survey of CIMA members, Management Accounting, October: 28-30.
Innes, J., Mitchell, F. and Sinclair, D. (2000), Activity based costing in the UK's largest companies: a comparison of 1994 and 1999 survey results, Management Accounting Research 11: 349-362.
Ittner, C.D., Lanen W.N. and Larcker D.F. (2002), The association between Activity Based Costing and manufacturing performance, Journal of Accounting Research 40, (3): 711-726.
Johnson, H.T. (1990), Beyond Product Costing: A Challenge to Cost Management’s Conventional Wisdom, Journal of Cost Management 4 (3): 15-21.
Kiani, M. and Sangeladji, M. (2003), An empirical study about the use of ABC/ABM models by some of the fortune 500 largest industrial corporations in the USA, Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 3(1/2): 174-182.
Krumwiede, K. P. (1998), The implementation stages of Activity-Based Costing and the impact of contextual and organizational factors, Journal of Management Accounting Research 10: 239-277.
Krumwiede, K.P. and Roth, H.P. (1997), Implementing Information Technology Innovations: The Activity-Based Costing Example, S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal 62 (4): 4-13.
Malmi, T. (1999), Activity-based costing diffusion across organizations: an exploratory empirical analysis of Finnish firms, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 24: 649-672.
McGowan, A.S. and Klammer, T P. (1997), Satisfaction with Activity-Based Cost Management implementation, Journal of Management Accounting Research 9: 217-237.
McGowan, A. S. (1998), Perceived benefits of ABCM implementation, Accounting Horizons, 12(1): 31–50.
Mévellec, P. (2002), Les paramètres de conception des systèmes de coûts : étude comparative, 23rd Congress of the French Association of Accounting, Toulouse, May.
Moalla, H. (2007), Les mécanismes de diffusion, d’adoption et de rejet de la méthode ABC dans l’environnement tunisien, 28th Congress of the Francophone Association of Accounting, Poitiers, May.
Naro, G. (2003), Compétitivité, rentabilité, productivité, emploi … face à la variété des critères de performance, Revue internationale des relations de travail 1 (4) :89-124.
Ngongang, D. (2010), Analyse de la pratique des coûts dans les PMI camerounaises, Revue Libanaise de Gestion et d’Economie, n°5.
Nooteboom, B. (1994), Innovation and Diffusion in Small Firms: Theory and Evidence, Small Business Economics, 6(5): 327-348.
Pierce, B. and Brown, R. (2004), An empirical study of activity based systems in Ireland, The Irish Accounting Review, 11(1):55.
Pizzini, M. J. (2006), The relation between cost-system design, managers evaluations of the relevance and usefulness of cost data, and financial performance: an empirical study of US hospitals, Accounting, Organizations and Society 31 (2):179–210.
Rahmouni, A . F. (2008), La mise en œuvre de la comptabilité par activités dans les entreprises françaises, Thèse de doctorat, Université du Sud Toulon– VAR.
Ruhanita, M. and Daing, N.I. (2007), Factors influencing activity based costing (ABC) adoption in manufacturing industry, Investment Management and Financial Innovations 4 (2): 113-124.
Sartorius, K., Eitzen, C. and Kamala, P. (2007), The design and implementation of Activity Based Costing (ABC): a South African survey, Meditari Accountancy Research 15 (2): 1-21.
Scott, W.R. (1992), Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Shields, M D. (1995), An Empirical Analysis of Firms: implementation experiences with Activity-Based Costing, Journal of Management Accounting Research 7: 148-166.
Shim, E. and Sudit, E. (1995), How manufacturers price products, Management Accounting (USA), 76(8):37-39.
Pavlatos, O. and Paggios, I. (2009) “Management accounting practices in the Greek hospitality industry”, Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol.24, No.1, pp. 81-98.
Tayles, M. and Drury, C. (2001), “Autopsy of a stalling ABC system: a case study of activity based cost management and performance improvement”, The 24th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, Athens, Greece, April 18-20.
Turney, P.B.B. (1991), How Activity-Based Costing Helps Reduce Costs, Journal of Cost Management 4 (4): 29-35.
Zaman, M. (2009), The Impact Of Activity Based Costing On Firm Performance: The Australian Experience, International Review of Business Research Papers 5 (4): 200-208.