The primary aim of this thesis is to build a model of Activity-Based Costing (ABC) adoption. It is hypothesized that the adoption of ABC is driven by the demand for accurate product-costing, which in turn is determined by four variables: complexity diversity, volume diversity, materiality, and product-market competition. Each variable is hypothesized to be a necessary but insufficient cause of ABC adoption by itself; collectively, the four variables interact in the way as necessary and sufficient causes of ABC adoption.
The study examines the hypothesized relations within the Australian context. The sample comprises 11 banks and 18 manufacturing firms. The reason to study the model with two fundamentally different industries is to test the validity of the model at a more general level so as to enhance the generalizability of the findings across settings. Data are collected by interviews with marketing executives from both sectors. The instrument is a self-designed questionnaire. Tests are performed to detect response bias and missing data because the sample size is small. The results of the tests demonstrate a lack of systematic difference in respondent and non-respondent firms in the sample and a random pattern of missing data.
Evidence in support of the validity of the analytical ABC adoption model has been found in this research by means of five types of empirical analyses: multiple case analyses, discriminant analyses, Friedman tests, between-industry study, and a historical study of adopting ABC in US manufacturing industry. The findings of all the analyses are consistent with the hypothesized relations.
Key words: Activity-Based Costing (ABC), adoption, cross subsidization, complexity diversity, volume diversity, materiality, product-market competition.