Drawing from previous research on accounting change and on the impacts of organizational life-cycle on MAS, the paper aims at discussing how the MAS change process differentiates at birth, at growth, at maturity, at revival and at decline stages of an organization. Using a framework developed by Zoni et al (2012) the paper documents key phases and features of the management accounting change process to highlight its organizational nature in five longitudinal case studies of design and implementation of MAS changes. The field study shows how accounting systems are difficult to change despite the formally acknowledged need for change. Findings highlight that the success of change depends on how effectively organizations managed key phases in the MAS change, which in turn depends on the stage of the organization life cycle. Conclusions posit that in order to manage MAS change successfully the organization would pay more attention to the design phase at birth and at revival stages and more attention to the implementation phase at growth, at maturity and at decline ones. Furthermore, we could conclude that the main aim of MAS change spans from selection to variation of MAS along the stages of organizational life cycle: variations are more frequent at birth and at revival stages , selections are more frequent at growth and at decline ones.
Keywords: Management accounting change, management accounting design and use; organizational change, organization life cycle.