Maharishi University’s Rao and Bargerstock published in Management Accounting Quarterly

Rao and Bargerstock published in Management Accounting Quarterly

Rao and Bargerstock

Manjunath Rao, a Ph.D. candidate at Maharishi University of Management, and his doctoral thesis advisor, Associate Professor, Andrew Bargerstock,  had a paper published in the Fall 2011 issue of Management Accounting Quarterly, the refereed online journal of the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA).

Rao noticed an apparent disconnect with companies not walking their talk. It seems the more mature lean manufacturing plants are still using the older standard costing methods. The paper, Exploring the Role of Standard Costing in Lean Manufacturing Enterprises: A Structuration Theory Approach, was posted online the first week of the year, and presents the theory and research plan for his dissertation. It will address why a majority of manufacturers continue to use traditional standard cost accounting even as they adopt lean manufacturing.

Rao will attempt to understand the nature of this discrepancy, and demonstrate the need for change, for companies to become more current in the way they do business. The system of Lean Management focuses on adding value to customers while streamlining operations and eliminating waste. It grew out of management principles used by the remarkably successful Toyota Motor Corporation.

Mr. Rao said he is very pleased with all of the support the IMA has given him for this research. “The IMA helped me in collecting data for my research by sending out the survey questionnaire to their members, and last June they invited me to participate in their 92nd Annual Conference at Orlando, Florida.”

Lean Accounting Award from the Lean Enterprise Institute Goes to an Accounting Professor and 2 Ph.D. Candidates

Winners of the LEI Excellence in Lean Accounting Award

In September, 2011, Rao was recognized nationally as one of two Ph.D. students who were awarded the Lean Accounting Student of the Year. An accounting professor and two doctoral candidates received 2011 Excellence in Lean Accounting Awards, sponsored by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) at the seventh annual Lean Accounting Summit in Orlando, Florida.

And last month, Rao received a $4,000 research grant from the IMA’s Research Foundation’s Doctoral Student Grant Program. The Program is designed to assist accounting doctoral students who are pursuing research that has the potential to contribute to the management accounting profession.

Accounting Methods: Lean vs. SCVA

According to Lean accounting theory published in numerous books and articles, mature lean manufacturing companies are expected to eliminate the use of standard costing and variance analysis (SCVA). However, field reports suggest that many companies continue to retain SCVA even after they have successfully implemented an effective system of work cell metrics.

SCVA is taught worldwide as the traditional method for controlling costs in manufacturing operations by averaging input costs and quantities over the entire production process. It involves setting quantitative average cost and quantity targets for key categories of inputs: material, labor and overhead. Reports are typically generated each month that summarize and compare actual costs to standard costs. Differences (variances) are investigated to determine root causes of unexpected results.

By contrast, in a lean manufacturing company, work cell teams (typically 6-10 people who perform a few sequential tasks) develop the relevant data they need to control quality and costs in real time (as compared to monthly reports with SCVA). From the perspective of Lean Management, work cell metrics are clearly superior to SCVA reports. Mature lean companies are therefore expected to eliminate the more outdated method of reporting.

Surprisingly, there has been no significant research study that has tested the lean accounting theory that mature manufacturers will eliminate SCVA. Rao’s research will gather such information via survey and he will also collect data to understand why companies are retaining SCVA.

Structuration Theory and Vedic Science

Rao utilized GiddensStructuration Theory, a general social theory model, to test the relevancy and completeness of questions on his survey. In his dissertation, Rao will show how Giddens’ theory mirrors Maharishi’s consciousness-based Samhita concept that explains the relationships among the knower, the known, and process of knowing.

“For a long time there was a debate in Western Sociological Sciences regarding Objective versus Subjective approach to knowledge,” explains Rao. “Giddens adopted a reconciliatory approach by stating that objective and subjective approaches are two sides of the same coin. He formulated the structuration theory wherein he introduced three concepts: Structure (object), Agency (subject), and Systems (wherein duality of structure and agency interact).”

According to Rao, “This three-concept model clearly overlaps with the Samhita model where Maharishi speaks of the same three concepts using the language of Vedic Science: Chandas (object), Rishi (subject), and Devata (process or Systems).”

Giddens also emphasizes the interaction of these concepts in three dimensions: Domination, Signification and Legitimation, which Rao says also mirror other concepts in Maharishi’s Vedic Science, the three gunas, or  fundamental operating principles found in nature (Prakriti) and their doshic counterparts, qualities known as Rajas (Pitta=Domination), Sattva (Vata=Signification) and Tamas (Kapha=Legitimation). If any one of these goes out of balance, problems occur.

To summarize Giddens, the Agency Dominates, through a System, which Signifies, and creates a Structure, which becomes Legitimate. This locks others into the existing interpretation of Reality. People get stuck, and there is no room to change to another way of looking at the world, managing or accounting more effectively on the work being done.

It is human nature to resist change, and that includes companies. A quote from Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) on recognizing truth, accepting a different worldview, a different paradigm, seems very relevant here: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Research from a Consciousness-Based Education Framework

Rao credits M.U.M. founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, for his “Samhita” concept, the togetherness of three basic elements, Rishi, Devata, and Chandas, or Knower, Knowing, and Known, a unique feature of Maharishi University of Management’s Consciousness-Based Education, which, Rao says, made it easier for him to understand difficult material.  “I was able to grasp the wholeness of the problem without getting lost in the details. It has helped me see the forest without getting lost in counting the trees.”

According to Dr. Bargerstock, Rao’s dissertation adviser, “Manjunath’s research has garnered significant attention by experts in the field of lean accounting.  In June 2011, the IMA invited Manjunath to give a poster presentation of his research plan at their annual conference in Orlando, Florida.  In September, 2011, he was named as one of two Ph.D. students nationally who were recognized as Lean Accounting Students of the Year at the Lean Accounting Summit in Orlando, FL.  In December, Manjunath received a research grant award of $4,000 from the IMA.  And now, he is recognized again by the IMA with the publication of this article.  We are very pleased with the progress of Manjunath’s dissertation.”

This is Mr. Rao’s first published article. “I am really thrilled to have my article published even while working on my Ph.D. dissertation.”  He says, “This has made it easier for me to establish relevance for my research in addressing issues currently faced by the management accounting profession.”

Manjunath Rao is a Certified Cost and Works Accountant from India (Grad “CWA), a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), with MBA and Masters in Accountancy (MSA) degrees from the US. He hopes to complete his Ph.D. in Management by June of this year.

Source: Rao and Bargerstock Article Published in Management Accounting Quarterly.

Reported in Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities: MUM Student Receives National Management Accounting Grant, and in MUM’s Achievements and The Review.

Related articles: Maharishi University MBA Students Win National Business Simulation Competition and Iowa and Nepal Rotary Clubs Provide Well for City in Nepal.

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3 Responses to “Maharishi University’s Rao and Bargerstock published in Management Accounting Quarterly”

  1. Maharishi University MBA Students Win National Business Simulation Competition « The Uncarved Blog Says:

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  2. Iowa and Nepal Rotary Clubs Provide Well for City in Nepal « The Uncarved Blog Says:

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  3. Maharishi University of Management’s Ye Shi Named Lean Accounting Student of the Year | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] See: Maharishi University’s Rao and Bargerstock published in Management Accounting Quarterly. […]


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