The embeddedness of accounting outsourcing relationships

Ali Elharidy, Robert Scapens, Brian Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to improve understanding of how management control systems (MCS) are influenced by local contexts in outsourcing relationships, drawing on a multi‐layer analysis of embeddedness.
Data were gathered through a field study of 15 Egyptian firms that outsourced various forms of accounting services to third party suppliers.
The findings indicate that managers make their control choices based on the nature of their “embedded relationships” with suppliers. The embeddedness analysis demonstrates the influence of context on MCS implementation.
Research limitations/implications
There is a paucity of studies focussing on how context affects control in outsourcing relationships. The paper provides a detailed framework and a rich empirically‐based explanation of the findings.
Practical implications
The findings have implications for the practice of accounting outsourcing and provide a conceptual framework of relevance to management practice.
A conceptual framework for understanding embeddedness is presented, which is illustrated with empirical evidence from multiple case analyses to illustrate how the implementation of MCS is influenced by context
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-77
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Research in Accounting and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • management Control Systems
  • Embeddedness Analysis
  • Outsourcing Relationships
  • Accounting
  • Egypt

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