Management And Accounting Web

Framework for Management Accounting Discussion Questions

Provided by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

MAAW's Textbook Chapter 1 Relevant Section | Framework Main Page | Framework MC Questions

1. What is a system? (See Chapter 1 for a concept (dictionary definition). Is a tree a system? Are you a system? Is an organization a system? Does a system have inputs and outputs? What causes a system to be a system rather than a non-system? See Russell Ackoff, Systems Based Improvement Video - Part 1; Johnson, R. A., F. E. Kast and J. E. Rosenzweig. 1964; and Systems theory and management. Management Science (January): 367-384. (JSTOR link). For more depth, see the Whole Systems Links.

2. Describe the main assumptions underlying the two variants of capitalism. (See Exhibit 1-4 or Exhibit 5 in the Framework summary).

3. When is teamwork or cooperation needed to optimize a system, i.e., what system characteristics cause a need for teamwork? Are there situations within a system when there is no need, or little need for cooperation? (Look at the concept definition of a system.)

4. Where did the emphasis on competition originate? (See Chapter 1 and Cooper 2000).

5. Compare McGregor's concepts of Theory X and Theory Y, and Blake and Moulton's Managerial Grid to the two variants of capitalism. (See the McGregor Exhibit, Managerial Grid, Cooper 2000 and Exhibit 1-5).

6. What is the driving force underlying the two types of economic systems? (See Exhibit 1-5). (See the Handy summary for one view on what it should be).

7. What does the term infrastructure mean? (See the ASCE report card table).

8. Why is infrastructure important? (See the ASCE report card summary).

9. In your opinion, who should pay for education?  (Students and their families, taxpayers, corporations?) Why? (See Exhibit 1-4).

10. Should the federal government promote supply or demand? Explain your answer. (See Exhibit 1-4).

11. Which type of capitalist system is oriented more towards short term profits? Why? (See Exhibit 1-5).

12. What is a flat organization? (See Exhibit 1-5).

13. Which system promotes a flat organizational structure? (See Exhibit 1-5).

14. What is needed to support a flat organization? Why? 

15. Are the concepts of individualistic organizations and flat organizations compatible? Explain.

16. What advantage does a flat organization have over a vertical organization? (See the Ford Escort example in Chapter 1).

17. In your opinion, who should be first in the hierarchy of an organization's constituencies, employees, customers, or stockholders? Why? (See Exhibit 1-5 and the Handy and Waddock summaries).

18. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the individualistic system of capitalism, first from the employees point of view and then from the employer's point of view. Some areas or characteristics for consideration include:

Characteristic Employee's Viewpoint Employer's Viewpoint
Employee or job acquisition
Internal mobility
External mobility
Training costs
Costs of supervision.

(See Exhibit 1-5 for ideas. Also see the summary of Ouchi's control mechanisms market, bureaucratic, and clan. Which system, individualistic or communitarian, is more like the salmon, and which is like the catfish? See Ouchi's explanation.)

19. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the communitarian system of capitalism from the employee's view point and then from the employer's view point in the same areas mentioned above, i.e.,

Characteristic Employee's Viewpoint Employer's Viewpoint
Employee or job acquisition
Internal mobility  
External mobility
Training costs
Costs of supervision.

(See Exhibit 1-5 for ideas. Also see the summary of Ouchi's control mechanisms market, bureaucratic, and clan).

20. How does the concept of leadership differ in the two systems? Where would they appear on Blake and Moulton's Managerial Grid? (See Exhibit 1-5 and The Managerial Grid).

21. Which type of leader blames the system for problems first? Why? (See Exhibit 1-5)

22. Which type of leader would rank employees? Why? (See Exhibit 1-5)

23. Do you think Americans tend to be reluctant to accept the idea of teamwork? Do you think this tendency is controlled more by the system, or the individual?

24. Which type of leader believes that employees are mainly motivated by money? (See Exhibit 1-5 and the Kohn 93, Pfeffer 98 and Herzberg summaries).

25. What is the key difference between socialism and capitalism? (See the economic wheel).

26. Why are the global variants of capitalism relevant to the study of management accounting? (See Relevance of Framework to Accounting, the Quality or Else summary, Handy and Waddock summaries).