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Subject: LCSH

Cost accounting, Management--Decision making, Management--Moral and ethical aspects




Asymmetric cost behavior or cost stickiness is a relatively new phenomenon in accounting. Cost accounting initially assumed that traditional cost behaviors follow a symmetrical pattern, whereas sales and costs rise and fall equivalently with each other. Extending the research of Anderson, Banker and Janakiraman (2003) which introduced a theory that contradicted the normal symmetrical cost behavior by suggesting that internal factors, such as management decisions impact spending resulting in asymmetric cost behavior or cost stickiness. The objective of this paper is to explore whether asymmetric cost behavior or cost stickiness impacts corporate earnings of enterprises and if so, does this inadvertently create ethical issues for decision-making by management, as they may benefit in compensation from these decisions. By examining the link between Sales General and Administrative expenses (SG&A) and earnings, this paper shows how asymmetrical behavior influences management decision making cost. The conclusions, recommendations and implications reached in this study are generalizable and appropriate for use in developing best practices.


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This article is published in Strategic Management Quarterly, volume 8, no. 2 (June 2020).


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