This paper reviews emerging attempts to bridge the gap between economics- and sociology-based research on management accounting and discusses how such research may be advanced. Particular attention is paid to research combining insights from various economic theories such as agency theory and transaction cost economics, and institutional theory. This body of research has made important contributions by opening up a discussion of how different kinds of institutions constrain as well as enable economic agency. However, I argue that the two dominant approaches in this area of research still display strong, paradigmatic legacies of economics- and sociology-based research, respectively, and that they have not yet produced a unified, socio-economic perspective on management accounting. I advance a third research approach, rooted in critical realism, that transcends the paradigmatic constraints of these approaches. I discuss the paradigmatic premises of this approach and how it may be applied in empirical research.