This study proposes a managerial accounting research design that bridges a gap between firm productivity based on frontier techniques and strategic management. In doing so, it operationalizes the theoretical frameworks based on the endogenous components of across-firms heterogeneous resources and routines, which are fundamental for firm performance. The design focuses on industry-level benchmarking to analyze changes in performance and organizational knowledge investments, and proposes some indicators for firm-level strategic benchmarking. An analysis of a twelve-years panel of the U.S. technology hardware and equipment industry illustrates the usefulness of the proposals. Findings reveal wider gaps between better and worse performers following economic distress. Increasing intangibles stocks is positively associated with changes in frontier benchmarking, while enhancing R&D spending is linked to frontier shifts. The discussion develops managerial interpretations suitable for control and reward systems.
Published as: Benchmarking for routines and organizational knowledge: a managerial accounting approach with performance feedback in Journal of Productivity Analysis , Vol. 46, No. 1, 87-107, August, 2016