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Cognitive pathways in small businesses decision-making processes

Sciprofile linkCarmela Rizza
Published: 9 January 2020
Corporate Ownership and Control , Volume 17, pp 350-359; doi:10.22495/cocv17i1siart15

Abstract: Research on small firms decision-making processes has stimulated accounting scholars to investigate how peculiarities of these firms could affect the way how they are managed, focusing on the limited diffusion of managerial accounting practices in these contexts. Controversial results on how managerial accounting practices work in small firms, claim for further research that mostly focus on how managerial accounting systems work in the decision-making processes of small firms. In this view, adopting a sociological perspective managerial accounting practices are interpreted as tools for making sense of past decisions and to discover future alternatives through cognitive pathways. Thus, the attention is on learning processes activated through balance sheet analysis in a small firm that was implementing this tool. The main contribution of this paper concerns the crucial role that balance sheet analyses play in supporting the organizational actors to monitor the state of the company and the decision-making processes. The discussion of balance sheet analyses results enabled the owner and his staff to appraise the current situation and pinpoint weaknesses, allowing them to analyse past events with a new lens and activating new knowledge pathways. Case evidence supports theoretical contributions to the decision-making processes of small businesses helping to better understand how managerial accounting practices work to discover future alternatives through cognitive pathways. The paper provides also a practical contribution concerning the crucial role that balance sheet analyses play in small firms.
Keywords: Decision making / Small firms / Making Processes / Managerial Accounting Practices / accounting practices work

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