Current textbooks advocate activity‐based costing (ABC) because it provides more detailed information on resource usage, leading to better cost control and reengineering of production processes. However, there is often little attention paid to how other organizational control features can affect the use of the information provided by ABC systems. This active learning simulation demonstrates that incentives can have a significant impact on how workers use ABC information to manage costs and innovate a production process. The simulation involves two student teams that are furnished with identical ABC cost driver information and either a tournament‐ or group‐based incentive structure. The teams simulate a factory environment by creating products using a simple manufacturing process, while the remaining students observe the process and record differences in communication, innovative activity, and resulting profitability. The teams' outcomes under the two separate incentives illustrate the interaction of a firm's cost system with its incentive system. Typically, we find that more communication occurs among team members, more team‐based innovations are created, and profit is higher under group incentives. We conclude that the use of ABC, without consideration of employee incentives, may not result in the desired cost control and process reengineering benefits. In this simulation, students are directly involved in providing the data, so they find the inferences drawn to be compelling.
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Research Article| August 01 2001
An ABC Simulation Focusing on Incentives and Innovation
Andrea Drake, Assistant Professor;
Susan F. Haka, Professor;
Online Issn: 1558-7983
Print Issn: 0739-3172
American Accounting Association
Issues in Accounting Education (2001) 16 (3): 443–471.
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Andrea Drake, Susan F. Haka, Sue P. Ravenscroft; An ABC Simulation Focusing on Incentives and Innovation. Issues in Accounting Education 1 August 2001; 16 (3): 443–471. https://doi.org/10.2308/iace.2001.16.3.443
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